Historic milestone at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

By Axel  Reiserer

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First waste canister of spent fuel loaded into new storage facility ISF-2

The first waste canister of spent nuclear fuel was loaded into the Interim Storage Facilty 2 (ISF-2) at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today.

This important milestone represents the culmination of more than 20 years of work at the site. The facility is funded by an EBRD-managed international donor fund, the Nuclear Safety Account.

One of our biggest projects in Chernobyl is the new Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility, the largest of its kind in the world. It will process fuel from all Chernobyls reactors, the last of which was finally closed down in 1999.

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The first loaded double-walled canister contains a total of 93 spent fuel assemblies that have been removed from the site’s ageing storage facility, processed and packaged in the new ISF-2 facility. In total, more than 21,000 spent fuel assemblies from Chernobyl reactors 1, 2 and 3 will make this journey over the next eight or more years. The ISF-2 is the largest dry spent fuel storage facility in the world and has a lifespan of a minimum of 100 years.

Balthasar Lindauer, EBRD Director, Nuclear Safety, said: “This is a momentous achievement that stands testament to the many days, weeks and years that the EBRD, donors, contractors and Ukraine have dedicated to delivering this critical safety project. We have had to overcome many challenges to reach this point, but it is all the more gratifying that we eventually got there.”

The ISF-2 facility commenced hot testing earlier this year. The full licence to operate is expected in early 2021. “Important work remains to be completed to secure the full operating licence, expected in early 2021, but the successful testing and loading of the first full fuel load provides all those involved with cause for some celebration,” added Steven White, EBRD Associate Director, Nuclear Safety.

The Interim Storage Facility 2 cost €400 million and was financed with contributions from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The EBRD manages the international donor community’s funds to transform Chernobyl into a safe and secure environment and has also made financial contributions to this effort.

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