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Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement takes shape

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

The construction of Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement – the modern structure which will eventually cover the destroyed Reactor 4 – is progressing well with no disruption, the EBRD’s Director for Nuclear Safety, Vince Novak, has said.

“We are encouraged by the solid and uninterrupted progress the construction of the New Safe Confinement, the largest moveable structure ever built, is making,” he said after a visit to Chernobyl last week.

“We believe that this will only strengthen the determination of the international community to bring this unique project to a successful conclusion in the most cost-efficient and timely way.

“The international community and Ukraine want to see this task fulfilled as the New Safe Confinement will eliminate risks for the people and the environment caused by the 1986 Chernobyl accident.”

All contribution to fund the work, including those by Ukraine’s government, are being paid as agreed, he added.

“If anything, the current crisis has strengthened Ukraine’s determination to bring this process to completion and we are encouraged by the Rada’s recent decision to approve a raise in the country’s contribution to €167.6 million,” he said.

The New Safe Confinement will transform the area around the damaged reactor 4 into a safe and secure environment. The new structure will enclose the old shelter and its radioactive inventory which was erected under extremely hazardous conditions after the 1986 accident.

It will prevent the intrusion of water and snow, the release of contaminated dust and provide cranes and equipment for the eventual deconstruction.

Construction of the NSC started in 2010. Arch segments will be lifted in six liftings. Three have already been completed. The finished first half has been moved into a parking position. After final assembly the arch will be slid over the damaged reactor. The New Safe Confinement is expected to be completed in 2017.

The international donor community entrusted the EBRD with the management of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund which is financing the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP). The current final estimated cost of the SIP is in the range of €1.9 billion. Of this, the New Safe Confinement is estimated to cost about €1.4 billion.

To date, the EBRD-managed Chernobyl Shelter Fund has received more than €1.2 billion from 43 donors. The EBRD contributes €325 million of its own resources in support of Chernobyl work.

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