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Safety Improvements at the Chornobyl Shelter

Closure of the Chornobyl Plant

Fig. 2 - Aerial view of Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Units 1 and 2 are shut down. Unit 4 was destroyed in the 1986 accident. Unit 3 is shut down temporarily until spring 1998, while workers repair cracks in the cooling system piping.
Three of Chornobyl's four reactors now are shut down. The Unit 2 reactor closed in 1991, when a serious fire in the turbine building caused the building's roof to collapse. The manufactured lifetime of the pressure tubes in reactor Unit 1 expired, which prompted its closure in November 1996.

The remaining reactor, Unit 3, supplies electricity in a country with a fragile economy and uncertain power supplies. Unit 3, however, is shut down temporarily until spring 1998, while workers repair cracks in the cooling system piping. The winter shutdown leaves the plant critically short of heat and further strains Ukraine's economy and power supplies.

Salary payments to the 6,000 workers have been delinquent up to three months during the past year due to late power sale payments. The plant recently announced layoffs of 1,500 of these workers. Alternative jobs are not available locally. Virtually the entire town of nearby Slavutych (population 28,000) depends on Chornobyl for income.

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 plant by the year 2000. As part of that memorandum, the G-7 countries agreed to help remediate current risks at Chornobyl, support energy efficiency, and help alleviate the socioeconomic impacts of permanent shutdown. The international community has pledged $2.3 billion in financing and grant assistance. Loans will finance replacement power projects, including new coal-fired generating plants.

| The 1986 Disaster/The Unstable Shelter | Closure of the Chornobyl Plant | Preventing Collapse of the Shelter | Worker Protection | Additional Safety Projects |


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