EU pledges €110 million to complete safety work on Chernobyl site

Today, on 19 April, 25 years after the tragic Chernobyl accident, EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will announce at a high-level conference in Kyiv the European Commission’s pledge of around €110 million, to   be used mainly to complete the New Safe Confinement – a giant arch structure which will cover the damaged Chernobyl unit 4, to isolate it and to allow its deconstruction in the future.
A press release said the EU had so far committed “a lion's share - some €470 million - to Chernobyl-related projects, mainly for nuclear safety, but also on programmes to help the local population and provide affected families with access to quality healthcare.” A further €740 million are needed from the international community in order to complete the major projects on the site by 2015.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who will participate in the Kyiv Nuclear Safety Summit said: "Nuclear safety is a global issue that requires a global response. Our pledge… will be key in making the Chernobyl site safe again,” adding: “At the Nuclear Safety Summit I will also press for progress towards the highest possible global standards for nuclear plants.” He also said following a meeting with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovychon 18 April: “The EU is fully committed to supporting nuclear safety and especially regarding Chernobyl.”
Development Commissioner Piebalgs, who will represent the Commission at the Pledging Conference, said: "The recent accident at Fukushima in Japan shows that nuclear safety remains a critical issue. The EU will continue to work steadfastly in its citizens' best interests, making nuclear sites safe and preventing accidents."
President Barroso will today open the Kyiv Nuclear Safety Summit, which will strengthen global cooperation and capacities to prevent and mitigate nuclear accidents. Commissioner Piebalgs will attend the Chernobyl pledging conference to help raise the funds still needed to make the Chernobyl site entirely safe by 2015.
On 20 April, Commissioner Piebalgs will attend a high profile conference “Twenty-Five Years after the Chernobyl Disaster. Safety for the Future”.
The future New Safe Confinement, due to be built with the EU’s financial input, will be long enough to cover almost two football pitches and high enough to house the Statue of Liberty. The €110 millionpledge will also help to complete the construction of the Spent Fuel Storage Facility. Once built, it will store the spent fuel from the units which remained in operation after the accident, which is required for the decommissioning of the plant.
In the wake of the Chernobyl accident, the EU has been working, largely through the Chernobyl Shelter Fundand theNuclear Safety Account international funds, to improve nuclear safety and to deal with legacy of the disaster, the press release said. Key achievements include the stabilisation of the existing shelter, the implementation of infrastructure which meets international health regulations and provides the best possible protection for on-site workers, and the construction of facilities in view of future decommissioning. (ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Press release
Barroso - statement                  
EuropeAid - Chernobyl 25 years on - Making the area safe again
ENPI Info Centre feature - Students, parents and teachers to heal the wounds of Chernobyl
ENPI Info Centre webpage - Energy
European Commission - Energy

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