Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the New Safe Confinement?

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.

Does the current state of the Chernobyl site pose an imminent danger?

Several measures were taken to address urgent problems, including the stabilisation of the existing shelter to limit the risk of its collapse. Studies have shown that the risk of criticality events in the fuel containing masses (start of a nuclear chain reaction) and thus a new nuclear accident is extremely low. Today the highest risk affects workers who work in contaminated areas.

What safety precautions are in place for the workforce?

Safety is our first priority. Employees carrying out physical work in the construction area will be equipped with suitable working gear and with dosimeters. The data collected will be checked by on-site radioprotection technicians. All equipment will be subjected to a daily treatment process.

Under the Shelter Implementation Plan, Chernobyl has been equipped with state-of-the-art changing facilities with medical and radiation protection facilities and an ambulance.

Before starting work, all personnel will undertake training in safety in order to know how to act in a radioactive environment. A medical check-up is carried out every three months for employees working on the site.

How big will the workforce be?

During the peak period of construction about 1,000 workers will be working on the site.

What is the purpose of the Spent Fuel Storage Facility?

The Spent Fuel Storage Facility (Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility 2) will provide a long-term storage for the more than 20,000 spent fuel assemblies from the Chernobyl reactors 1, 2 and 3. The completion of the facility is a precondition for the safe and secure decommissioning of Chernobyl.

Are the New Safe Confinement and the Interim Storage Facility 2 long-term solutions?

Yes, they are designed for a lifespan of at least 100 years. But they do not constitute a final solution. Final disposal of the spent fuel of units 1, 2 and 3 and the fuel containing masses of unit 4 will be implemented in accordance with the nuclear waste management strategy adopted by Ukraine.

What have you achieved to-date?

The Shelter Implementation Plan was adopted in 1997 and outlines a course of action to accomplish five objectives and identified 22 primary tasks which were further divided into 297 activities. The key task was an ambitious stabilisation programme, carried out between 2006 and 2008, which has minimised the collapse risk of the existing. But also most other activities defined under the Shelter Implementation Plan have been implemented and created the condition for the construction of the New Safe Confinement. This covers every aspect from the creation of the necessary infrastructure on the site to the best-possible workers’ protection through modern facilities and health and safety regulations according to international best practice. in the following year first projects such as emergency repairs were already implemented.

What will be the final cost of the Shelter Implementation Plan?

It is currently estimated at €1.54 billion. This includes actual cost for completed projects and estimates for outstanding tasks.

How much is the cost for the New Safe Confinement?

About two thirds of the total cost of the Shelter Implementation Plan.

What will be the final cost of the Spent Fuel Storage Facility?

The first design phase was around €30 millions. Completion (= construction and delivery of all casks) will cost around €250 million.

What is then the total estimated cost for both projects?

€1.6 billion + €300 million = €1.9 billion in very round figures.

How much more money is needed?

€740 million for both projects: €600 million for the SIP and €140 for ISF 2.

When will the New Safe Confinement be finished?

The project is under implementation and according to the last review should be completed by mid-2014.

When will the Spent Fuel Storage Facility be finished and operational?

The current schedule indicates that the ISF-2 project will be completed in 2014/2015, though the delivery of casks for the spent fuel storage will continue for two to three years after that, since they are not all required at the same time.

The EBRD acts as administrator of and a contributor to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which was established in December 1997 by the G7 and other contributing countries to help Ukraine transform the existing Chernobyl Shelter into a safe and environmentally stable system under the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP).

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