Chernobyl confinement project still EUR 200 million short

26 April 2011

The international community gathered at a pledging conference in Kiev in April has pledged an additional EUR 550 million to the efforts to create a long-term containment solution for reactor 4, destroyed in the 1986 accident at Chernobyl.

Chernobyl unit 4 with containment structure
Chernobyl unit 4 with containment structure. Image courtesy IAEA


Before the conference, the shortfall was EUR 740 million. Major donors and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development will work together to close the remaining financial gap. The EBRD is managing the international donor funds for Chernobyl.

President Thomas Mirow said: “This is an encouraging result and we strongly welcome the donors’ strong commitment to work together with Ukraine to implement lasting solutions in Chernobyl. This is a significant achievement which represents a major step forward, but also a great responsibility for the consortium to deliver in time and within budget and make the site safe for the generations to come.”

At the conference in Kiev 28 countries made new contributions and several additional countries announced they are still considering making pledges. EBRD President Mirow said that the Bank would make available at least EUR 120 million to the project and that the Bank would consider additional contributions depending on efforts by other major donors. The Bank’s governors will decide about the EBRD’s new contribution at the Annual Meeting in May 2011 in Astana. The pledging conference was organised and chaired by Ukraine and France as current chair of the G8.

The additional financial means will replenish the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and the Nuclear Safety Account, the two EBRD-managed funds through which the Shelter Implementation Plan for reactor 4 and the Spent Fuel Storage Facility for reactors 1-3 are funded. Since most pledging countries offer only an amount, the extent of the shortfall in each project is not clear at this point. Donor countries should clarify the allocation of funds in a formal donation letter.

The Shelter Implementation Plan includes the construction of a new shelter for reactor 4. The start of construction of this so-called New Safe Confinement is imminent and first preparatory works have begun. The total cost for the Shelter Implementation Plan will be EUR 1.54 billion. The New Safe Confinement is the biggest project under this complex workplan and will cost about two thirds of the total amount.

It will be assembled on site and the current schedule foresees that this will be completed in summer 2015. Subsequently, the new structure will be slid over the shelter built after the 1986 accident.

The Spent Fuel Storage Facility will provide dry storage for the more than 20,000 spent fuel assemblies from operations in reactors 1-3 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The project design has received regulatory approval by the Ukrainian authorities and work on the site has begun. The design builds on existing concrete storage modules and uses a building for the processing of the assemblies. Processing will include cutting, drying and fitting of spent fuel into storage containers. The completion of the facility is expected 2014/15.

The pledging event was held on the occasion of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident on 26 April 1986 which will be commemorated in Ukraine.

The UK said that it had contributed GBP 28.5 million in this donor round, including funds given in 2008.


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