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EBRD confirms Ukraine nuclear plans, including construction of Chernobyl Shelter facility

27 April 2012

The Director of the Nuclear Safety Department of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Vince Novak, has confirmed in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine that the previously announced terms for the completion of the Shelter facility at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by the autumn of 2015 remain in force. He also gave details of the bank's other involvements in Ukraine's nuclear industry.

The Shelter will be placed over the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, over the existing sarcophagus containment building
The Shelter will be placed over the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, over the existing sarcophagus containment building

The Shelter facility will be a building in the form of an arch-shaped containment building 105 meters high, 150 meters long and 260 meters wide, which will be built on site and rolled into place on top of the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, over which there is currently a concrete sarcophagus.

Novak said the EBRD Board of Governors has approved €950 million to build the Shelter, or New Safe Confinement (NSC) facility, to be erected by Novarka, a joint venture of French construction groups Vinci and Bouygues. It is also making €255 million available for an Interim Storage Facility (ISF-2), to be built by US group Holtec International, with other significant sums also committed to projects on the Chernobyl site.

He added the contract with Novarka, which was signed in September 2011, stipulates completion by the autumn of 2015, with penalties if the work overruns.

Novak said that the EBRD had no problems in its relations with the Ukraine Government, but there were inevitably, given the unique nature of the project, issues that still needed to be resolved. These included the use of new Ukrainian norms and standards on the project, despite the original plans being drafted before their adoption. 

In addition to its work at Chernobyl, the EBRD is also working with the Ukrainian nuclear energy generating company Energoatom. The bank is currently considering allocating significant sums to improve safety at all nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

Novak confirmed that the EBRD had already implemented a programme to improve safety at the second nuclear reactor at Khmelnytsky NPP and the fourth nuclear reactor at Rivne NPP.

“There’s currently close cooperation between the EBRD, the European Commission and Energoatom, pre-project studies are being conducted, various assessment and materials are being prepared, and the necessary permits are being received. We expect that the question of funding for this project will be submitted for consideration by the EBRD Board of Directors in the autumn of 2012,” Novak said.


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