25 years of Chernobyl disaster: challenges and progress.
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This shelter was always intended as a temporary measure until a more permanent solution would be possible. Stabilisation measures have eliminated the risk of the shelter’s collapse. Today, the conditions are in place to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe state with the construction of the New Safe Confinement.
The second remaining major technical task at Chernobyl today is the finalisation of the construction of the Spent Fuel Storage Facility which is needed for the decommissioning of the spent fuels from units 1-3, the last of which was shut down at the end of 2000.
The Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) was set up in 1997 to assist Ukraine in transforming the existing shelter over Chernobyl's destroyed unit 4 to a stable and environmentally safe state.
The CSF finances the implementation of the so-called Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP) which was elaborated by Western and Ukrainian experts in 1997 as a step-by-step solution to the current situation at Chernobyl.
the Fund has been lead by the G-7 governments and the European Community since it was announced at the G-7 summit in 1997 (Denver). At the G7 summit of 1999 (Cologne) the initial pledges of US$ 300 million were nearly doubled.
More concerned governments declared their will to support the CSF at the pledging conferences in November 1997 (New York) and July 2000 (Berlin) and at an event in May 2005 (London).
The following contributors have provided at least the minimum amount to become members: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The following countries have made donations: Iceland, Israel, Korea, Portugal, the Slovak
As of end-2010 the Fund has received a total amount of €990 million.
The highest decision-making body of the Fund is the Assembly of Contributors, comprising representatives of 23 countries and the European Commission.
The Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) was the first multilateral fund set up in 1993 to finance nuclear safety projects in central and eastern Europe.
Emergency safety upgrades
In order to increase safety levels of selected first-generation reactors in view of their early closure, the NSA has funded some urgent technical improvements needed to reduce the risk of accidents prior to closure: at Ignalina (RBMK-1500) in Lithuania, and Kozloduy (VVER 440/230) in Bulgaria.
Construction of pre-decommissioning facilities
For the safe decommissioning of units 1, 2 and 3 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the NSA funds the construction of a facility for the treatment of liquid radioactive waste as well as a facility for the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel.
Comprehensive safety assessments
The NSA has financed the preparation of independent reviews of the safety analysis reports produced by the operators of Soviet-designed nuclear power plants.
In Chernobyl, the fund has funded security and safety measures and two decommissioning facilities. The plant to treat liquid radioactive waste from units 1-3 is now complete and the spent fuel storage facility currently is under construction.
To-date, the Nuclear Safety Account has received about €320 million in contributions from its donors comprising 16 countries plus the European Commission.
The New Safe Confinement will transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe state. The new structure will enclose the damaged reactor 4 and contain the radioactive inventory of the shelter which was erected under extremely hazardous conditions after the 1986 accident. It will prevent the intrusion of water and snow and the dispersion if contaminated dust and provide cranes and equipment for the eventual deconstruction of the existing structures.
For that purpose the New Safe Confinement will be equipped with two cranes with a lifting capacity of 50 tons each. Dismantled shelter components can be laid down or processed inside the New Safe Confinement. It will be able to operate for at least 100 years.
The contract for design and construction of the New Safe Confinement was signed in September 2007 with the consortium Novarka, formed by the construction companies Bouygues and Vinci. Work on the detailed design of the structure and its systems such as cranes, fire protection and ventilation is completed.
The arch frame is a huge lattice construction of tubular steel members built on two longitudinal concrete beams. In order to reduce radiological exposure to the workforce, the arch will be assembled 250 metres to the west of the destroyed reactor and eventually slid into position over the existing sarcophagus.
Clearance of the assembly site right next to the shelter and excavation work for the foundations in this contaminated area have been completed. Piling for the foundations and the lifting cranes started in September 2010.
The Spent Fuel Storage Facility will provide a long-term storage for the more than 20,000 spent fuel assemblies from the Chernobyl units 1, 2 and 3. The completion of the facility is a precondition for the safe and secure decommissioning of Chernobyl. The project will use existing concrete storage modules and a building for the processing of the assemblies. Processing will include cutting, drying and fitting of spent fuel into storage containers.
Spent fuel is currently stored at the site in an interim wet storage facility constructed in Soviet times (ISF‑1) and in pools in the units. This facility does not conform to modern standards and it appears unlikely that its current licence would be extended when it expires in 2016.
The contract to design and complete the facility was signed with the American company Holtec International in September 2007. The design of the new facility was approved by the Ukrainian regulator in 2010 and the Assembly of Contributors agreed to start implementation in October 2010. The contract amendment for the completion of the facility was signed in February 2011.
The international community, gathered at the pledging conference in Kiev on April 19, 2011, announced about the contribution of additional €550 million to the efforts to transform the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant into an environmentally safe site and create the conditions for a long-term solution for reactor 4 which was destroyed in the 1986 accident at Chernobyl. Major donors and the EBRD will work together to close the remaining financial gap.
At the conference 28 countries made new contributions and several additional countries announced they are still considering making pledges. EBRD would make available at least €120 million to the project and that the Bank would consider additional contributions depending on efforts by other major donors. The Bank’s governors decided about the EBRD’s new contribution at the Annual Meeting in May 2011 in Astana. The pledging conference was organised and chaired by Ukraine and France as current chair of the G8.
The additional financial means will replenish the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and the Nuclear Safety Account, the two EBRD-managed funds through which the Shelter Implementation Plan for reactor 4 and the Spent Fuel Storage Facility for reactors 1-3 are funded.