The FINANCIAL — An international donor conference has secured financing for the completion on schedule by the end of 2017 of the New Safe Confinement (NSC), the protective structure being built to cover the destroyed reactor 4 on the site of the nuclear accident in Chernobyl.
At the conference, the G7 and European Commission confirmed an additional contribution of €165 million to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, while other countries pledged €15 million. Several other countries indicated that they would also make contributions in the near future. EBRD Governors had already said in November 2014 that the EBRD would provide an additional €350 million, according to EBRD.
Prior to these new pledges, the NSC project had been facing a funding gap of €615 million, which has now been reduced to €85 million by the international community.
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.
The pledging event was chaired by State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth representing the German G7 Presidency and hosted by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The EBRD serves as fund manager for the international community’s efforts to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe state.
The Chernobyl Shelter Fund was set up in 1997 to assist Ukraine in achieving this goal. 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.
State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth, representing the German G7 Presidency, said: “The G7 members and the EU Commission have traditionally taken the lead in raising funds for the Chernobyl Shelter Project. Therefore I am very pleased that under our G7 presidency we were able to ensure that the shelter project to make the Chernobyl site stable and environmentally safe could be brought to a successful conclusion. We, the members of the G7 and the EU Commission, are convinced that there is no responsible alternative to the completion of the project within the agreed cost and schedule. The New Safe Confinement will ensure that the destroyed unit will remain under control so that there will be no further contamination of the environment or harm to the population of Ukraine, Belarus and other countries that could be affected. It will be a visible sign of the continued commitment by the G7 members and the EU Commission to nuclear safety and security.”
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti added: “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.”
Klaus Rudischhauser, European Commission, Deputy Director General, stated: “On behalf of the European Union, the European Commission pledges €70 million to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund. In spite of the difficult financial situation we all face, the solidarity with Ukraine shown today is quite remarkable and proof of the importance the international community attaches to the resolution of the Chernobyl legacy. We will continue working with Ukraine, the EBRD and the international donors to ensure that the projects are brought to a successful conclusion.”
With a height of 110 metres, a length of 165 metres, a span of 260 metres and a weight of more than 30,000 tons the New Safe Confinement is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built. It has been constructed since 2010 in a cleared area in two halves which have been lifted and joined.
The structure is currently being equipped with heavy duty cranes and other specialised equipment before it will be moved over the damaged reactor in late 2017. It will have a lifespan of a minimum of 100 years and allow for the future dismantling of the old shelter and its radioactive inventory as well as waste management operations.
To date, 43 donor governments have contributed to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund. In addition to its role as fund manager the EBRD has provided €675 million of its own resources to support Chernobyl projects including the NSC.