EBRD’s largest nuclear safety project reaches important milestone

By Anton Usov

A major step towards ensuring the long-term safety at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has been achieved with the successful completion of the first lifting stage of the New Safe Confinement. 

Video interview of EBRD Director for Nuclear Safety: “Major step forward”

When fully assembled the New Safe Confinement structure will have a span of 257 metres, a length of 162 metres, a height of 108 metres and a weight of 36,000 tonnes. It will then be slid over the Object Shelter covering the destroyed Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. During the initial lifting operation around 5,000 tonnes of steel was raised to a preliminary height of up to 22 metres. The successful implementation of the New Safe Confinement will both significantly reduce the risk of further radiological contamination, and provide equipment and facilities to address the challenges of long term deconstruction of the Object Shelter and its inventory.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “This is a very significant milestone, which is a tribute to the ongoing commitment of the international donor community, and an important step towards overcoming the legacy of the accident for the people of Ukraine, Belarus and all other countries affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe.”

The New Safe Confinement contract is funded through contributions by over 40 donor nations to the EBRD Chernobyl Shelter Fund. The Fund is expected to disburse around €1.54 billion in support of the Shelter Implementation Plan. It is expected that the New Safe Confinement, which will cost about two-thirds of this amount, will be completed in 2015.

The EBRD acts as administrator of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which was established in December 1997 by the G-7 and other contributing countries to help Ukraine transform the existing Chernobyl sarcophagus into a safe and environmentally stable system. Since 2009 the EBRD has been the largest contributor to the Chernobyl funds, having pledged €325 million towards key projects at the site.