Today, the European Commission will step up its contribution with €70 million to ensure the complete return to a safe environment at the Chernobyl site (Ukraine).
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The European Union already provides unprecedented financial support to Ukraine and today we continue along this path. Today we have pledged another €70 million to ensure a complete return to a safe environment at the site of the devastating accident at Chernobyl. Our actions speak louder than our words. The EU is helping to make Chernobyl safe again."
The €70 million pledge, announced at the EU-Ukraine Summit, amounts to some €360 million provided already for the completion of a number of projects, including the New Safe Confinement being built to enclose the existing 'sarcophagus' and reactor 4 destroyed during the 1986 accident.
The aim of the New Safe Confinement is to protect the environment from radiation releases and provide the infrastructure to support deconstruction of the 'sarcophagus', remains of the reactor and nuclear waste management operations.
Construction of the new safe confinement started in 2010 by the French-led NOVARKA consortium and is at an advanced stage of completion. It is expected to be slid over the reactor by mid-2017 with a total cost of some €1.5 billion.
The announcement comes ahead of a pledging conference to close the current funding gap of €615 million to complete the Shelter Implementation Plan – the umbrella programme of the New Safe Confinement. The conference will take place on 29 April in London and is organised by the current G-7 Presidency (Germany) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD), which manages the international funds.
On top of the European Commission's contribution, EU Member States have provided around €420 million so far and they are also expected to further strengthen their support at the Conference. The EBRD will contribute an additional €350 million which will be announced at the upcoming conference. Other major donors include non-EU countries such as the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and China.
The New Safe Confinement project:
The New Safe Confinement will bring the site into an environmentally safe condition. With a lifespan of a minimum of 100 years it creates the timeframe to develop and implement mitigating strategies for the future treatment of the damaged reactor. The New Safe Confinement is being constructed on site and will later be slid over the sarcophagus which shelters the destroyed unit 4.
The Shelter built in 1986 was not intended as a permanent solution and in 1997 - with the strong support of the European Commission - a group of international experts from the EU, USA, Japan and Ukraine finalised a multidisciplinary construction management programme known as the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP).
In 1997, the G-7, the Commission and other donors requested the EBRD to set up the Chernobyl Shelter Fund for the implementation of the SIP. By 2007, 10 years after the agreement on the SIP, a number of main actions had been completed which paved the way for starting the construction of a New Safe Confinement.
Making Chernobyl safe again:
In total, the European Commission has committed more than €600 million so far to Chernobyl projects, including the following ..
.. Industrial projects: €480 million – of which €400 million was channelled through the international funds, and €80 million was implemented directly by the European Commission
.. Power generation support: some €65 million
.. Social projects: some €15 million
.. Research projects: some €100 million