EU Pledges EUR 70 M for Nuclear Safety at Chernobyl Site

EU | April 28, 2015, Tuesday // 11:15|  views

A general view of the construction of a new protective shelter which will be mounted over the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, 21 April 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The European Commission will provide EUR 70 M to Ukraine for the return of the Chernobyl site to a safe environment.

The EUR 70 M pledge, announced at the EU-Ukraine Summit on April 27, amounts to some EUR 360 M provided already for the completion of a number of projects, including the New Safe Confinement being built to enclose the existing 'sarcophagus' and reactor 4 destroyed during the 1986 accident, according to the press office of the European Commission.

The aim of the New Safe Confinement is to protect the environment from radiation releases and provide the infrastructure to support deconstruction of the 'sarcophagus', remains of the reactor and nuclear waste management operations.

Construction of the new safe confinement started in 2010 by the French-led NOVARKA consortium and is at an advanced stage of completion. It is expected to be slid over the reactor by mid-2017 with a total cost of some EUR 1.5 B.

The announcement comes ahead of a pledging conference to close the current funding gap of EUR 615 M to complete the Shelter Implementation Plan – the umbrella program of the New Safe Confinement.

The conference will take place on April 29 in London and is organized by the current G-7 Presidency (Germany) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD), which manages the international funds.

On top of the European Commission's contribution, EU Member States have provided around EUR 420 M so far and they are also expected to further strengthen their support at the Conference.

The EBRD will contribute an additional EUR 350 M which will be announced at the upcoming conference. Other major donors include non-EU countries such as the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and China.

The New Safe Confinement will bring the site into an environmentally safe condition.

With a lifespan of a minimum of 100 years it creates the timeframe to develop and implement mitigating strategies for the future treatment of the damaged reactor.

The New Safe Confinement is being constructed on site and will later be slid over the sarcophagus which shelters the destroyed unit 4.

The Shelter built in 1986 was not intended as a permanent solution and in 1997 - with the strong support of the European Commission - a group of international experts from the EU, USA, Japan and Ukraine finalized a multidisciplinary construction management program known as the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP).

In 1997, the G-7, the Commission and other donors requested the EBRD to set up the Chernobyl Shelter Fund for the implementation of the SIP.

By 2007, 10 years after the agreement on the SIP, a number of main actions had been completed which paved the way for starting the construction of a New Safe Confinement.

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Tags: Chernobyl, nuclear safety, European Commission, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD


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