The European Commission today pledged to the Nuclear Safety Account fund the largest part of the €45 million ($51 million) expected from the G7 and the Commission in addition to the existing support. This fund supports in particular the safe decommissioning of units 1 to 3 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.


On 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl plant suffered the worst nuclear accident in history when a power runaway event wrecked reactor 4. The three remaining reactor units, however, were vital to Ukraine's electricity needs and continued to operate for some years. Unit 2 shut down in 1991, unit 1 in 1996 and unit 3 in 2000.


The plant officially entered the decommissioning phase in April last year, following approval by the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine (SNRC). The first phase of decommissioning is the so-called final shutdown and preservation stage, which is expected to take ten years.


EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said in a statement today: "The European Union has been at the forefront of the international efforts to deal with the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, to decommission the nuclear power plant and to make the site environmentally safe. Today's pledge will further contribute to ensuring that the projects are brought to a successful conclusion."


The Nuclear Safety Account, managed by the London-headquartered European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, funds the construction of a storage facility for used nuclear fuel from the operation of the Chernobyl plant.


Reprinted from World Nuclear News