An international donor conference has secured an additional €180 million in financing for the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which will enable the New Safe Confinement project to be completed on schedule by the end of 2017.
The NSC is a huge arch structure that is designed to protect the remains of Chernobyl 4, which was destroyed in a 1986 accident. Construction started on the €1.5 billion structure in 2010, but the project has been facing a significant funding gap since 2014.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said that during the conference the G7 and European Commission confirmed an additional contribution of €165 million to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, with €70 million from the EC.
Other countries pledged €15 million, with several others indicating they would make contributions in the near future.
In November 2014, the EBRD announced it would provide an additional €350 million for the fund.
Prior to these new pledges, the NSC project had been facing a funding gap of €615 million. This has now been reduced to €85 million by the international community, EBRD said.
The new funds allow all works in Chernobyl to continue without delay. Meanwhile, efforts to raise the remaining shortfall will continue, with the EBRD covering any outstanding amount.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of this conference and grateful to all donors for their contributions at a time when national budgets are tight. The additional funds will allow us to keep the project on track and gives us confidence that the New Safe Confinement can be delivered on time and on budget," said EBRD president Sir Suma Chakrabarti.
The Chernobyl Shelter Fund was set up in 1997 to assist Ukraine in its goal to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe state. The NSC, at a cost of €1.5 billion, is the most prominent element of the €2.15 billion Shelter Implementation Plan, the strategic framework developed to overcome the consequences of the 1986 accident.
To date, 43 donor governments have contributed to the fund, and in addition to its role as fund manager the EBRD has provided €675 million to support Chernobyl projects.
Photo: Chernobyl NSC under construction