In an eerie reminder of the ongoing cost of nuclear disasters in the wake on the 11 March Fukushima debacle in Japan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has decided to allocate an additional $100 million to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and the Nuclear Safety Account Fund for implementation of Chernobyl programs.
Prior to Fukushima, the Chernobyl nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster). The USSR’s frantic efforts to contain the sites contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy.
The press service of the Ukrainian Finance Ministry reported, “Taking into account the outcome of the Chernobyl donors conference held in Kiev and taking into account additional obligations of France, the USA, Russia, the European Union and the EBRD, the demand for the funds necessary for the implementation of Chernobyl projects is fully met in the amount of 740 million euros ($1.059 billion),” the Unian informatsiine agengentsvo reported.
A reinforced concrete casing was built around the ruined Chernobyl reactor building over the seven months following the accident, which was intended to contain the remaining fuel and act as a radiation shield. As was only designed for a lifetime of 20-30 years, as well as being hastily constructed, a second shelter, the “New Safe Confinement,” with a 100-year design lifetime is currently under construction, to be placed over the existing structure.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com