Germany is leading efforts to raise the EUR 615 million funding necessary to complete the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement - the a huge arch structure that is designed to protect the remains of Chernobyl 4, which was destroyed in a 1986 accident.
Work on the New Safe Confinement started in late 2010 and according to the current schedule it is expected to be completed by 2017. However, the project is expected to run out of financing by the end of 2014, according to Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
Any further delay will increase costs and threatens security concerns, as the sarcophagus erected at the time as a temporary shelter shows more and more cracks and might collapse, it said.
Germany, as the current G7 presidency, has a central role to play in raising additional funds. It said, mid October, that the G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) dealing with Chernobyl issues had agreed on a catalogue of criteria following intensive negotiations. This catalogue will enable the G7 and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to prepare their contributions.
The EBRD, which is serving as project manager for the Chernobyl NSC project, will contribute 'substantially' to closing the financing gap, says BMUB. However, individual contributions have not yet been fixed, and will need to be taken on the political level.
Germany has also pledged 'substantial' contribution and says it will convince its partners to act likewise.
"It is a question of credibility for the G7 to permanently block off the nuclear ruins of Chernobyl from the surrounding environment with a safe sarcophagus," said Germany's federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks.
In 1997 the G7 pledged to convert the site into an environmentally safe condition in return for closing down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Photo: Chernobyl arch under construction