5.0 Chornobyl Initiatives
On April 26, 1986, a steam explosion at Ukraine's Chornobyl nuclear power plant Unit 4 led to complete destruction of the reactor. Operators performing a test of the turbine generator system performed a series of actions that, when combined with design deficiencies, created a tremendous surge in reactor power. The sudden release of energy ruptured the reactor's fuel rods and pressure tubes. The steam explosion lifted the reactor core and the 2000-ton shielding block nearly 14 meters (45 feet) high.
The explosion severed the reactor cooling system pipes, removed the head of the reactor vessel, and destroyed much of the reactor building in the process leaving it completely open to the atmosphere. Hot fragments of graphite and reactor fuel from the core, which were spewed into the immediate vicinity, started at least 30 fires in nearby buildings.
Large amounts of radioactive dust and gases-an estimated 50 megacuries-rose from the exposed reactor core. The heat from the core propelled some of this material as high as 10 kilometers (6 miles), from where it was transported far from Chornobyl by regional and global weather patterns. The material contaminated more than 155,000 square kilometers (60,000 square miles) of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Smaller amounts of radioactive material spread over Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and fallout was detected in the United States.
Two workers were killed outright as an immediate consequence of the accident. Thirty more workers, mostly firefighters, died of acute radiation exposures received in initial emergency responses to the accident.
The four Chornobyl reactors-called Unit 1 through Unit 4-are of the RBMK design as are 11 others at the Kursk, Smolensk, and Leningrad sites in Russia. The Ignalina site in Lithuania has two RBMK reactors of a later design in operation. Western experts generally agree that the RBMK design is significantly deficient relative to accepted international safety standards. The lack of a containment building and several design deficiencies that make reactor control difficult in various off-normal situations are the primary deficiencies. Experts who analyzed the Chornobyl reactor accident believe that the reactor control deficiency and procedural compliance deficiencies were the main causes of the Chornobyl accident.
Numerous safety problems at Chornobyl have led the international community to call for the plant's complete and permanent closure. In December 1995, Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the G-7 countries to close the Chornobyl plant by the year 2000. As part of that memorandum, the G-7 countries agreed to work with Ukraine to remedy current risks at Chornobyl, modernize the energy sector, and alleviate the socioeconomic impacts of Chornobyl's closure.
All of Chornobyl's four reactors now are shut down. Workers closed Unit 2 in 1991, after a serious fire caused portions of the turbine building roof to collapse. Unit 1 was shut down in 1996 when the gap between the fuel tubes and the graphite in the core narrowed to the point that the fuel tubes required replacement. The last operating reactor, Chornobyl Unit 3, was shut down permanently on December 15, 2000.
To address the safety concerns at Chornobyl, the United States currently is involved in three crucial efforts:
During a visit in July 1998, Vice President Albert Gore and Leonid Kuchma, president of Ukraine, discussed plans for the permanent shutdown and deactivation of the Chornobyl plant. Mr. Gore called the shutdown "imperative for the safety of the Ukrainian people, for the safety of Europe, for the well being of the world." President Kuchma confirmed that Ukraine would close the plant and later set the date for closure in the year 2000.
President Clinton visited Ukraine in June 2000 and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to see the Chornobyl plant shut down. President Kuchma had received the recommendation of a government commission and announced that Unit 3 would be shut down by December 15, 2000. President Clinton announced during the visit that the US would allocate an additional $2 million in aid to Ukraine for reactor safety improvements and pledged $78 million to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund. These figures are in addition to the $263 million authorized by the United States through 1999 for technical assistance to Ukraine.
In the immediate aftermath of the Chornobyl Unit 4 accident, Soviet scientists, engineers, and workers rushed to construct a shelter over the damaged reactor and halt the continuing release of radioactive contamination from the smoldering reactor debris. The resulting 20-story Shelter, originally referred to as the Sarcophagus, was designed, fabricated, and constructed between April and November 1986.
The high radiation levels required the use of loose, rather than compacted,
fill and remote construction methods. The resulting structure had cracks and
holes that remain today. Remote construction and subsequent settling have increased
the risk of structural failure in the event of high winds or an earthquake.
5.1.1 Shelter Implementation Plan
The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the newly independent state of Ukraine with few resources to address the deteriorating situation. An international competition sponsored by Ukraine in 1992 solicited proposals to address the problems of the shelter and renewed international interest in the Chornobyl situation. Subsequent work sponsored by the European Community produced a design for a massive containment structure that, while technically addressing the issues in an effective manner, was prohibitively expensive. In 1996, the United States joined further European-funded efforts to evaluate alternative solutions.
The expanded international study team took on the challenge of defining an explicit, cost-effective plan of action in the absence of detailed information on the structure and its contents. This team defined the tasks required to place the Shelter and its contents in an ecologically safe condition and developed a strategy for resolving the issues.
Experts from the United States, Europe, and Ukraine collaborated to develop the Shelter Implementation Plan. Ukrainian institutes, specialists from Russia and the Chornobyl plant, and European and Japanese contractors participated. US personnel provided the primary technical support. The US team included staff from two national laboratories, Pacific Northwest and Argonne, and five US corporations-Stone and Webster Engineering, Parsons Power Group, Science Applications International Corporation, Bechtel Hanford, and Scientech. The US team also developed the cost and schedule estimates.
The resulting Shelter Implementation Plan, which Ukraine and the G-7 nations approved in June 1997, details measures needed to protect workers and the environment, prevent collapse of the Shelter, and achieve long-term confinement of the waste. The plan calls for developing strategies for eventual removal of the radioactive mass of fuel from the Shelter and placing it in safe confinement (however, the international community considers near-term removal of the fuel to be too costly due to the high radiation levels). The plan estimates a cost of $760 million to carry out these measures over an eight-year period. In addition to leaving out the cost of fuel removal, the estimate does not include decommissioning and decontamination of the Chornobyl site.
The G-7 nations pledged to contribute $300 million toward the $760 million cost in June 1997. Representatives of 22 countries pledged an additional $37 million during a November 1997 pledging conference in New York City led by Vice President Gore. Ukraine has pledged $50 million worth of in-kind contributions. Leaders of the International Shelter Project agreed that the total of $387 million was sufficient to initiate work while concurrently seeking additional pledges.
The G-7 selected the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to manage the project's finances and hire a project management team to manage the Shelter work. In April 1998, Ukraine and the European Bank awarded the management contract to a team composed of Bechtel National Incorporated, a US contractor; Electricityde France, a French utility; and Battelle, a US research and development organization. The project management team is working with Chornobyl managers and staff to provide leadership on technical projects, operations and business programs, licensing, and regulatory strategies.
US personnel worked with the project management team to develop bid packages
for 17 urgent, early-start projects. With a projected cost of about $35 million,
these "early biddable" projects included stabilization design, shielding design,
geotechnical and seismic investigations, emergency preparedness, dust management,
nuclear criticality monitoring, water management designs, characterization of
the fuel mass, strategies for radiological protection and industrial safety,
and the development of strategies and technologies for removing and confining
the fuel mass. These projects were combined into four packages for bids. The
project management team awarded these bids from June through October 1998.
In parallel with additional characterization of the structure and its contents, the project management team has defined the effort required to stabilize the Shelter, to provide access for later removal of the waste if desired, and to achieve long-term confinement of the waste. Consensus decisions on stabilization measures have been reached and waste removal strategies and confinement decisions will be made over the next several months. Contracts for the design and construction to implement these decisions will be awarded through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development procurement process over the coming months.
Contracts are being awarded for safety and construction infrastructure to support the stabilization and confinement work. These projects range from establishing upgraded radiation protection programs and training facilities to providing upgraded power supplies and lay-down yards for the Shelter.
A third Shelter Implementation Plan pledging conference was held in July 2000 in Berlin. Encouraged by progress on the Shelter Implementation Plan to date, donors pledged more than $320 million additional bringing total pledges for the project to $715 million of the estimated $760 million required. Continuing strong international support for the project makes it likely that the total amount required will be raised as the project progresses.
5.1.2 Stabilization of the Ventilation Stack
In 1998, workers stabilized a ventilation stack damaged by the 1986 accident at Chornobyl. Completion of this project was an important milestone, marking the first resolution of a significant safety issue stemming from the accident.
The 64-meter-high (210-foot) ventilation stack sits atop a 61-meter-high (200-foot) building between Chornobyl's operating Unit 3 reactor and the Shelter that encloses the radioactive ruins of Unit 4. The stack was used in Unit 3 operations until that reactor was shut down.
External braces that support the stack were damaged in the 1986 explosion.
Calculations showed the stack's stability had been reduced by 75 percent and
failure was indicated under credible seismic or high wind conditions. If the
stack toppled in an earthquake or severe weather, it could have injured workers
and damaged the Shelter or the Unit 3 reactor. Nine badly damaged braces needed
replacement; three dented vertical supports needed to be strengthened; and the
stack's vertical steel supports needed to be stabilized.
High radiation levels around the stack from radioactive material imbedded in the stack's paint and from the reactor debris within the Shelter presented a major challenge. To minimize worker exposure, US and Ukrainian experts developed an ALARA (as-low-as- reasonably-achievable) based work plan and built a full-size mock-up of a portion of the bracing framework, thus enabling workers to practice repair tasks before entering the radiation zone.
The Chornobyl Shelter Organization developed the original work plan in 1997 and asked US experts to review it. A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Parsons Engineering worked with Ukrainian experts to reduce estimates of worker exposure to radiation from 4600 person-rem to approximately 400 person-rem. The revised plan also reduced the completion time by 60 percent and the projected cost by 50 percent. Chornobyl managers made similar reviews standard for high-exposure jobs at the site.
Ukrainian organizations performed the structural analysis, repair design, contracting, and project management. The United States, Canada, and Ukraine funded the project. A Ukrainian contractor began the repair work in April 1998 and completed the work on schedule in June 1998. The repairs restored the ventilation stack to 100 percent of its original stability.
5.1.3 Worker Protection Equipment
In May 1996, specialists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory under direction from DOE and at the invitation of Chornobyl nuclear power plant management examined working conditions inside the Shelter and consulted with Ukrainian officials to identify the most pressing needs for worker-protection equipment.
In response to identified needs, the United States has provided equipment and training to improve safety for Shelter workers in four main areas. Those areas are radiation protection and dose reduction, nuclear criticality monitoring, dust suppression, and industrial safety.
Radiation Protection and Dose Reduction
In June 1998, the United States delivered electronic dosimetry equipment to Ukraine for recording each worker's radiation exposure and trained Chornobyl workers to use the equipment. Also, the United States shipped thermoluminescent dosimeters to Ukraine and trained workers on the use and maintenance of the dosimeters and dosimeter readers.
In December 1998, Ukrainian specialists successfully conducted site acceptance tests of U.S.-supplied STREAM software. Chornobyl personnel received training in its use. Specialists will use the software to track exposure of Shelter workers to radiation and to plan work so the exposure of each worker over time can be managed.
In October 1998, Chornobyl received U.S.-supplied air sampling equipment. Area radiation monitors were supplied in 1999. This equipment enables improved definition of radiation worker environments and hazards that can be factored into worker protective measures.
Access control software, shielding software, various handheld survey instruments, and calibration sources round out the list of worker radiation protection equipment and training provided under this effort, which is now completed.
The United States is supporting Ukraine's effort to improve training for shelter workers. US experts worked with Chornobyl instructors to develop a pilot course based on the internationally accepted systematic approach to training. In October 1998, Chornobyl instructors conducted a pilot training course for the Shelter's radiation protection supervisors.
The United States also has provided equipment to facilitate work inside the Shelter. Shelter workers have received portable electrical generators and compressors for operating equipment in remote areas of the Shelter; a portable jack-hammer/drill; a Jaws-of-Life rescue device; and Hilti equipment for drilling and sawing through concrete, which is necessary for obtaining access to closed-off sections of the Shelter. In April 1998, company specialists trained Shelter workers to use the Hilti equipment.
The United States has supplied photographic equipment, radiation-hardened video equipment, and video-processing equipment to acquire information for planning work and establishing baseline conditions. The United States has supplied two-way radios to enable workers in various parts of the Shelter to communicate with each other. The industrial safety projects are now completed with the assistance of more than 60 contractors.
5.1.4 Emergency Preparedness
A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory visited Chornobyl in June 1997 to collect information about the site's current emergency plans and procedures. The team used that information and emergency preparedness guidelines from the International Atomic Energy Agency to outline a revised emergency plan for the Chornobyl Shelter.
To complete the US contribution, the team submitted the outline, an assessment of emergency plan upgrade needs, and supporting technical information to the Shelter Implementation Plan for further development and implementation.
Robotics systems are used extensively in the US for performing tasks in high-radiation environments, thus reducing worker exposure to dangerous levels of radiation. Robotics systems were used in initial Chornobyl accident recovery efforts with poor results due to the challenges presented by the severe radiological and physical environment.
In an effort to restore confidence in this approach, U.S.-based RedZone Robotics, Inc., was retained to build a radiation-hardened robotic unit to be deployed in the Shelter. The robotic unit passed factory acceptance tests in October 1998, was shipped to Chornobyl in December 1998, and tested in a nonradioactive area at the Chornobyl plant in early 1999. The robot, dubbed "Pioneer," has visual equipment to survey the structural conditions inside the Shelter, sampling equipment to obtain core samples of concrete for evaluating how heat and radiation have affected the strength of the concrete, and basic grappling and moving capabilities to handle debris.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was the initial project manager and technical coordinator for the Pioneer project. Experts from Oak Ridge National Laboratory subsequently managed the project tasks. Any additional robotic projects will be funded and administered under the Shelter Implementation Plan. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy provided funding for the development and demonstration of Pioneer. In addition to RedZone Robotics, Inc., Carnegie Mellon and Westinghouse also participated in the project.
Following the demonstration in the nonradioactive area, ownership of the robot was transferred to the Chornobyl plant. The robot presently is awaiting a well-defined mission in either the decommissioning or Shelter activities at the site.
Ukraine agreed to close the Chornobyl plant in the year 2000. Shutdown and deactivation of Units 1, 2, and 3 will leave the reactors in a safe storage condition for an indefinite period. The multi-year deactivation process will include defueling the reactor cores, draining and drying their primary coolant systems, and shutting off power to some of their electrical and control systems.
Ukrainian specialists at the Chornobyl plant and the Slavutych Laboratory for International Research and Technology are leading the shutdown and deactivation project. The Slavutych Laboratory is the primary technical branch of the International Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology (see Section 5.3). US support for these activities is coordinated with other international support being provided for the shutdown and deactivation activities.
5.2.1 Deactivation of Reactor Unit 1
US support for the deactivation of the Chornobyl plant began in February 1997, when staff from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Chornobyl plant began identifying needs, requirements, and issues to be addressed by the deactivation strategy. In June 1997, the team delivered an outline for conducting a deactivation safety analysis and for preparing a deactivation plan.
In March 1998, Slavutych Laboratory personnel and plant staff completed the technical plan for shutting down and deactivating reactor Unit 1. US specialists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided technical support. During 1998, Energoatom, Ukrainian regulatory authorities, and government ministries reviewed and approved the plan.
Chornobyl workers initiated the Unit 1 shutdown and deactivation work in October 1998, when they began a comprehensive engineering and radiation survey. The survey, which was completed in January 2000, identifies the status of the reactor systems, components, and structures.
Early in 1999, plant staff began defueling the reactor core. When all fuel has been removed from the reactor building-a process to be completed in January 2004-the deactivation of Unit 1 will be complete.
In 1999, US specialists supported Ukrainian specialists in completing a quality assurance plan for the Unit 1 shutdown and deactivation. US specialists also provided technical support as Ukrainian personnel completed the comprehensive engineering and radiation survey of the reactor.
5.2.2 Remediation of the Cooling Pond
In January 1998, Slavutych Laboratory staff completed a plan for characterizing the radiological and chemical contamination of the plant's cooling pond that resulted from plant operations and the 1986 accident. Characterization data will be used to assess risks and evaluate options for pond remediation.
The United States provided RAAS-MEPAS software to the Slavutych Laboratory in December 1997, enabling Ukrainian specialists to assess the radiological and chemical risks of various decommissioning and remedial options for the cooling pond. In April 1998, staff from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided follow-up training in the use of the software, completing this project.
In November 1998, US instructors provided training on decommissioning methods and experience at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington State. Staff from the Slavutych Laboratory and the Chornobyl plant traveled to Hanford to participate in the training, which was led by instructors from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Bechtel Hanford Incorporated.
5.2.4 Future Shutdown and Deactivation Support
In June 2000, President Clinton visited Ukraine and announced an additional $2 million in assistance to Ukraine as further compensation for the shutdown of Unit 3 at Chornobyl. A portion of this aid was allocated to shutdown and deactivation activities, and US and Ukraine experts currently are integrating activities supported by this additional funding into the overall shutdown and decommissioning program at Chornobyl.
5.2.5 Completion of the Replacement Heat Plant
With the shutdown of Unit 3 in December 2000, a source of steam
and hot water must be available to provide heat that was previously supplied
by a combination of output from an existing fossil-fired heat plant and waste
heat from operation of the reactor. This source of heat ensures safety at the
shutdown reactors by preventing system freeze-ups and providing steam for waste
processing and various other needs. Site heating needs also will increase when
new facilities to support site shutdown and decommissioning activities, including
new waste management and fuel storage facilities, are ready for operation.
In 1992, Chornobyl began building a new fossil-fueled heat plant, but stopped construction when it was about 25 percent complete. In December 1997, as an outgrowth of the 1995 Ukraine/G-7 Memorandum of Understanding that committed western technical and socioeconomic aid to compensate for shutdown of the Chornobyl reactors, the United States agreed to work with Ukraine to finish the heat plant. Ukraine is providing $7.5 million of the $40 million required to complete the project. The project is scheduled for start-up and commissioning in 2001.
The design was updated to incorporate current technology and to conform to current codes and standards. The first phase design of the fire protection and service water systems has been completed, and construction on these systems commenced in September 1998. A general contract was awarded in mid-1999.
A construction management group that was formed as an organizational element of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant manages the project. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff provides ongoing management support and have worked with the construction management group to establish cost and schedule baselines, conduct tenders, and issue subcontracts. In April 1998, specialists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided training in project management and supplied office equipment and software to support the management group.
Two US contractors are providing technical support-Morrison-Knudsen for construction management and Babcock and Wilcox for boiler systems construction. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has three staff members on-site in addition to local support staff to provide direct support and oversight of the work.
At the end of January 2001, construction was 95% complete. With the exception of specialized equipment, competitive procurements for materials and labor are being won primarily by Ukrainian organizations. Companies from other host countries for U.S.-supported safety activities (i.e., Russia and Hungary) have won some contracts, and companies from Western Europe are supplying most of the specialized equipment.
Ukraine established the International Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology in April 1996. At that time, the United States and Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the development of the Center. In October 1997, the government of the United Kingdom signed a similar memorandum. Ukrainian, US, and British personnel are closely coordinating their development efforts.
Establishment of the Center is a milestone in Ukraine's effort to build its own expertise in safe nuclear power plant operations. Before Ukraine's independence in 1991, Russian personnel primarily were responsible for design and operation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine.
The Center's technical branch is the Slavutych Laboratory for International Research and Technology. Slavutych, a city of 28,000 people, is about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Chornobyl. The Center was established with the following objectives:
The United States is working with Ukraine to develop the Center's infrastructure and management systems and to establish resources for managing nuclear information. The United States also is working with the Center on planning and integration, including efforts to diversify the local economy and to develop strategic international relationships.
5.3.1 Joint Technical Projects
With US support, Ukrainian specialists are conducting planning and safety analyses for the shutdown and deactivation of Chornobyl Units 1, 2, and 3. Analysts at the Slavutych Laboratory are working with staff from the Chornobyl plant to conduct the analyses. Center and laboratory staff members are working with US personnel and staff from other Ukrainian organizations to develop a nationwide plan for spent-fuel management. (For details see Section 4.4.2.)
British personnel are working with Center and laboratory staff to develop a strategic research agenda that identifies specific focal points for technical projects. This effort also involves US management specialists and is closely coordinated by the Center's Council of Members. British personnel also are working with the Center to develop and implement a communications strategy.
Center and laboratory personnel are working with French and German personnel to develop a comprehensive database on radioactive contamination at the Chornobyl site and in the 30-kilometer (19-mile) exclusion zone around the plant. The team also will compile data on the ecological effects of the accident and its health effects on cleanup workers and the general public. Experts from Russia and Belarus are participating in the five-year project.
In 1997, Center and laboratory specialists worked with US specialists to complete three significant studies. One team assessed the risk of the Unit 4 Shelter collapsing and leading to an accident at Unit 3. The analysts concluded that the risk is too small to need further evaluation. A second team assessed the need for robotic equipment inside the Chornobyl Shelter. They concluded that robotic equipment is needed for remote visual surveillance and for characterization of radioactive substances in areas too radioactive for routine human access. A third team evaluated the available data that could be used to create a physical scale model and a computer-based, three-dimensional model of the Chornobyl Shelter. They recommended establishing a widely accessible database.
5.3.2 Infrastructure Development
The United States is working with Ukraine to develop the infrastructure of the International Chornobyl Center and the Slavutych Laboratory. Projects include establishing reliable communications, renovating facilities, installing a computer network, and developing a nuclear data facility.
Communications. In July 1998, workers constructed a tower next to the Slavutych Laboratory headquarters and installed a satellite-receiving dish. The project improved the quality and reliability of the satellite-based communications system installed in 1996. The system provides a direct voice and high-speed data link between the International Chornobyl Center and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. Through the satellite system, the center gained electronic mail service and reliable telephone access to the rest of the world.
The communications system facilitates the Center's collaboration on nuclear
analysis and research with specialists in Ukraine and other countries. It also
provides access to the information databases of partnering organizations, including
the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network. In 1997, technicians added
a U.S.-supplied videoconferencing unit.
Facilities. International Chornobyl Center and Slavutych Laboratory staff moved into newly renovated, permanent facilities in November 1997. With US support, workers renovated 2000 square meters (2187 square yards) of a former Slavutych hospital for offices, classrooms, and conference rooms. The United States supplied office equipment and computer hardware and software for the facilities.
Computer Network. During summer 1998, workers installed a U.S.-provided computer network at the Slavutych Laboratory. The network enables laboratory staff to share information between computers.
Nuclear Data Facility. In 1997, the United States worked closely with the International Chornobyl Center and the Ukraine Institute for Nuclear Research to establish a nuclear data facility in Slavutych. The United States provided computers, software, and reactor analysis codes for performing nuclear data calculations. A second Alpha computer, added in 1998, significantly expanded the facility's capabilities. In 1998, personnel from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory began training Ukrainian staff to manage the facility and make it accessible to other Ukrainian nuclear organizations and research institutes.
5.3.3 Nuclear Information Management
With US support, a nuclear reference library was established at the Slavutych Laboratory. The library provides access to monographs and major international periodicals pertaining to the nuclear industry, as well as standard nuclear reference material. In October 1998, US specialists trained staff from the Center and laboratory to use a system for identifying and evaluating nuclear-related technologies. The system, called Technology Scanning and Assessment, is used by US national laboratories. In a pilot project conducted in 1999, US and Ukrainian specialists identified state-of-the-art technologies that would meet a particular need and determined which technology would best meet that need. Information from that project was incorporated into the center's strategic plan. 5.3.4 Management Systems Development Specialists from the United States are working with leaders of the International Chornobyl Center to establish effective management systems. In 1997, six Center managers and a Ukrainian government official participated in a two-week management-training workshop in Seattle, Washington. The workshop presented fundamentals of management, including leadership, communications, personnel management, financial management, contracting, marketing, and determining labor and overhead costs. Participants met with representatives of Microsoft Corporation, the Boeing Company, and the Marine Sciences Laboratory operated by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 1998, center managers completed a manual that defines management procedures and objectives. Staff from the Slavutych Laboratory and the Chornobyl plant participated in training on the essentials of project management in October 1998. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff provided the training, which included use of Microsoft Project 98 software. In 1999, the center implemented professional financial management capabilities, including the ability to produce an annual financial report that meets international auditing standards. The United States provided computer software and training to support this effort.
5.3.5 Planning and Integration
The United States is working with the International Chornobyl Center to engender a diversified local economy and develop strategic international relationships.
International Conference. In October 1998, October 1999, and September 2000, the Center held its second, third, and fourth annual conferences. More than 100 representatives of Ukrainian and international organizations have attended each conference to discuss international support for safety work at Chornobyl. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the International Chornobyl Center co-sponsored the conferences.
Technical Partnerships. In July 1998, the governments of Ukraine and the United States agreed to create the International Radioecology Laboratory (IRL). Ukraine, through the Chornobyl nuclear plant, provided and renovated a facility to house the IRL in Slavutych, and the Department of Energy provided furnishings. The facility was dedicated in May 1999 and opening ceremonies for the IRL itself took place in March 2000. A Scientific and Advisory Council has been established to include senior scientists from the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, the United States, and Ukraine. The first meeting of the Scientific and Advisory Council was held in September 2000 immediately following the fourth annual Chornobyl Conference. The IRL, a new subsidiary of the International Chornobyl Center, facilitates Ukrainian and international research on the effects of radiation on plants and animals. Laboratory staff members work closely with staff from the Ukraine Ministry of Emergency Situations, which administers the Chornobyl exclusion zone. The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, a US national laboratory in Georgia, led the efforts to create the IRL.
The International Chornobyl Center is broadening its relationships with other major research institutes. Laboratories operated by the Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency have established an informal network with the Center. The US laboratories have agreed to disseminate information about the Center, review project proposals, and identify opportunities for joint projects in nuclear safety, radioactive waste, and radioecology.
Technology Commercialization. In October 1998, US personnel conducted a technology commercialization workshop at the Slavutych Laboratory. Ukrainian nuclear business entrepreneurs and staff from the International Chornobyl Center and other Ukrainian institutes learned methods for developing technology-based businesses. The workshop presented fundamentals of creating business plans, developing sources of financing, and assessing markets. Center specialists also participated in the November 1998 Nuclear Commerce Conference in Washington, D.C. The Department of Energy sponsored the U.S.-Ukrainian conference.
Community Partnership. In August 1998, the mayor of Slavutych and the head of the Slavutych Business Council visited Richland, Washington, and the surrounding Tri-Cities area, adjacent to the Hanford Site. The Slavutych leaders learned about local efforts to diversify an economy that has depended heavily on Hanford employment. The Slavutych leaders exchanged information and ideas with business and government leaders, staff from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and faculty from the Tri-Cities branch campus of Washington State University in Richland, Washington.
In August 1998, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation awarded a grant to the cities of Richland and Slavutych for a two-year community partnership project. Staff from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Washington State University Business Links program are working with Slavutych leaders to support emerging and growing businesses in the Slavutych area, with emphasis on technology-based business starts.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, which is funded by the Agency for International Development, distributes grants to foster cooperation in economic and municipal development.
Educational Exchange. Middle-school students in Richland and Slavutych
participated in an educational exchange in 1997. The students developed a joint
Internet site that described their communities' histories, economies, and environmental
issues (http://www.chornobyl.org/exchange/). To establish the website, they
communicated by facsimile transmission and electronic mail, using the satellite
link between the International Chornobyl Center and Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory. Teachers in Richland and Slavutych supervised and directed the students,
and staff from the Center and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided
technical support. The students also have benefited by using the videoconferencing
link between the two laboratories. Washington State Governor Gary Locke presented
the "Christa McAuliffe Award" to Ms. Maureen McQuerry, the US teacher, for her
efforts. Christa McAuliffe was the teacher-astronaut aboard the Challenger mission
that ended in tragedy in 1985. Each year in the United States, one teacher per
state receives this fellowship award to encourage outstanding teachers to continue
their education or to develop educational projects.
In October 1998, Richland and Slavutych students initiated a second educational exchange project. The students conducted environmental investigations in the Hanford and Chornobyl areas, then used the Internet and the videoconferencing system to share their results.
These collaborations led to development and publication of a student-written book: Nuclear Legacy-Students of Two Atomic Cities. The book is written in English and Ukrainian and provides a unique look at the experience of young people of two distinct cultures, who share a common inheritance-coming of age in a nuclear community.
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