Source Pravda.Ru

Ukraine complains Chernobyl fund donors behind with their credit obligations

Ukraine is going to ask Chernobyl fund Ukrytiye donor countries why they have not fulfilled their obligations for crediting the job of decommissioning the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and making the protective shell safer, RIA Novosti was told at the press-service of the Ukrainian president.

This is the decision taken on Tuesday by Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council at a meeting presided over by Leonid Kuchma.

The participants stated that the delay in the work is due to non-observance by Group of Seven countries and the European Commission of their obligations recorded in the 1995 Ottawa Memorandum. Because of this, Ukraine is having to spend extra funds on keeping the nuclear reactors in a safe condition.

"Today the Chernobyl plant is three years behind its decommissioning schedule," the press-release stresses.

The meeting was told of instances of ineffective utilisation of the money provided by the Ukrytiye foundation, which is administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In particular, projects managed by foreign partners exceeded their allocated spending limits. "Nearly half of the fund's money was spent on non-productive needs," it is noted in the press-release.

The Ukrytiye facility is a protective envelope built in 1986 over the destroyed No.4 generating unit of the Chernobyl plant. Its prime function was to prevent radioactive dust from spreading beyond the reactor.

Today the envelope's condition is unstable. Scientists and specialists know nothing about processes under it and the state of almost 200 tons of nuclear fuel in the generating unit. Besides, its technical condition has deteriorated - the walls developed cracks, and the ceiling is very much down. Experts are warning that the fall-in of this structure may have more gruesome consequences than the accident itself.

To put the envelope into an ecologically safe state a new shell was designed, called Ukrytiye-2. It will be constructed next to the No.4 unit, and then pushed on it. The service time of the new envelope is estimated at 100 years.

The cost of conversion is 758 million dollars. The work is being financed by the international Chernobyl fund Ukrytiye (708 million) and the Ukrainian government (50 million).

The construction of foundations for the new protective shell is expected to start in April 2006 immediately after work is completed to stabilise the existing Ukrytiye facility.

Assembly of the new envelope is planned to begin in February 2008.