The New Safe Confinement (NSC) over the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) was put into operation Wednesday, Anton Usov, senior adviser on external relations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said on his Facebook page.
Usov said: “22 years after the organization of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, the NSC was put into operation and presented to Ukraine. The international community raised 1.5 billion Euro (1.68 billion U.S. dollars) for the project. The contribution of the EBRD amounted in over 700 million Euro (785 million U.S. dollars). The NSC will serve at least 100 years and will help solve the problem of disassembling of the sarcophagus over the fourth reactor.”
As reported previously, the complex construction effort to secure the molten reactor’s core and 200 tons of highly radioactive material has taken nine years to complete.
Due to the NSC’s large size, it had to be built in two parts, which were lifted and successfully connected in 2015.
In March 2019, commissioning, individual and complex testing of equipment and technological confinement systems were carried out at the ChNPP industrial site. At the end of April, the NSC was put into trial operation mode.
The NSC which is meant to prevent radioactive materials escaping from the fourth reactor site is the most prominent and most visible part of the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan, a step-by-step strategy developed to make the site of the 1986 nuclear accident safe.
Chernobyl Shelter Fund finances the implementation of the entire Shelter Implementation Plan which costs around 2.1 billion Euro (2.36 billion U.S. dollars). More than 40 countries and organizations contributed to the fund according to the EBRD data.
The EBRD is providing 715 million Euro (803.7 million U.S. dollars) of its own resources to support Chernobyl projects including the NSC.
The explosion of the ChNPP fourth reactor in central Ukraine happened on April 26, 1986, and took lives of at least 31 people while thousands more have died since from radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.