Chernobyl nuclear power plant (ChNPP) will receive a licence to operate the New Safe Confinement (NSC) built to encase the destroyed reactor 4 at the Chernobyl NPP and the sarcophagus which was hastily built around reactor immediately after the 1986 accident. On July 29, 2021, the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine (SNRCU) Board approved a Safety Analysis Report relating to the NSC, which was formally handed over to Ukraine in 2019. The €1.5bn ($1.69bn) NSC construction project, managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was financed by 45 donor countries and institutions. It is the key component of the €2.1bn Shelter Implementation Plan, established in 1997, which involved more than 300 safety projects and activities, including completion of crucial infrastructure and stabilisation of the sarcophagus. 

The results of the state examination confirmed compliance of the NSC complex with nuclear and radiation safety requirements and an inspection confirmed the readiness of the ChNPP to operate the NSC-complex in line with nuclear and radiation safety regulations.

Certain shortcomings identified during the state examination of and the inspection can be eliminated within the time frame established by SNRCU and will not affect the possibility of safe operation, ChNPP said on 3 August.

The pilot industrial operation of the NSC lasted for almost a year, from 30 July 2020 to 14 June 2021. During this time, ChNPP personnel tested the NSC systems, structures and components for compliance with design requirements, functional purposes and operability, and also practised skills and readiness for industrial operation of the NSC.

“On 11 August, a licensing commission will take place, and after receiving a licence, we, in line with our new status, must as soon as possible develop a working draft , ‘New Safe Confinement Launch complex 2 (PC-2) – for early dismantling of unstable structures of the Shelter’, and then we will proceed to the physical work of dismantling the unstable structures. Consequently, we have a lot of important and interesting work ahead of us,” commented Sergey Kondratenko, ChNPP deputy director for technical infrastructure.