The dismantling of the old sarcophagus (Shelter) at the Chernobyl NPP, now covered by the New Safe Confinement, is delayed due to litigation after the State Audit Service of Ukraine (SASU) found that Chernobyl NPP had awarded the work to two companies (SK Ukrstroymontazh and  UTEM-Engineering) whose proposals did not meet the tender requirements.

SASU said in a statement that it had looked at the tenders in July and “according to the results of the audit, the proposals of the two enterprises did not meet the requirements of the tender documentation”, the statement said. SASU said SK Ukrstroymontazh in fulfilling a similar construction contract, had failed to meet the contract requirements in full, and also did not provide all the necessary information about the technical data for the project. UTEM-Engineering had also failed to meet all the contract requirements and did not provide a positive response letter from Chernobyl NPP.

Under the contract, SK Ukrstroymontazh, will have to dismantle 18 Shelter structures by the end of 2023, and remove the construction and radioactive waste to the relevant landfill sites. The contractor must also organise medical examinations for the staff and, if necessary, provide first aid, manage radiation and general safety, carry out scientific and technical support for the project, and support interaction with the regulatory authorities.

SASU had ordered the Chernobyl NPP to rectify the deficiencies within five days or to provide reasoned objections. Chernobyl NPP had ignored SASU’s comments and had proceeded to award the contracts. In face of SASU’s objections, Chernobyl NPP then took the case to the Kiev District Administrative Court, and won. However SASU is now appealing against this ruling. While the legal wrangling continues no work is being done.