Important Note: This website contains historical data from the INSP project. As of 2004 the site is no longer maintained and certain sections do not work correctly.
Safety Improvements at the Chornobyl Shelter
Working as a team, international experts have proposed measures to prevent collapse of the shelter and safely contain the ruined reactor. In August 1996, U.S. experts joined the International Shelter Project (then known as the European Commission Shelter Project). Ukrainian institutes, specialists from Russia and the Chornobyl plant, and European and Japanese contractors also have been providing support.
In May 1997, the international team proposed the Shelter Implementation Plan, which describes measures to protect workers and the environment, prevent collapse of the shelter, and construct a new shelter to cover the current one. The plan also provides for developing strategies for removing the radioactive mass of fuel from the shelter and placing it in safe confinement. The plan does not, however, include the actual fuel removal; technologies are not available yet to move the fuel safely and cost-effectively.
The plan estimates a rough cost of $760 million to carry out these measures over an eight-year period. That estimate does not include the costs of actual fuel removal or the decommissioning and decontamination of the Chornobyl site.
To develop the Shelter Implementation Plan, the U.S. team provided the primary technical support and led development of the plan's cost and schedule estimates. The team included experts from two national laboratories, Pacific Northwest and Argonne, and five U.S. corporations--Stone & Webster Engineering, Parsons Power Group, Science Applications International, Bechtel Hanford, and Scientech.
U.S. experts also worked with the international team to develop bid packages for 17 urgent, early-start projects. With a projected cost of about $50 million, these "early biddable projects" include the design work for stabilizing the shelter, 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 now are combined into four packages to be bid on by interested parties.
In June 1997, Ukraine and the G-7 nations approved the Shelter Implementation Plan. The G-7 selected the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to manage the project's finances and hire a contractor to manage the shelter work. Requests for proposals on the Project Management Unit and early biddable projects were sent to candidate bidders in mid-December 1997. The Bank expects to choose the management contractor by March 1998 and make awards for the early biddable projects in April 1998.
The G-7 nations pledged to contribute $300 million toward the $760 million cost. Representatives of 22 countries pledged an additional $37 million during a November 1997 pledging conference in New York City. Ukraine has pledged $50 million worth of in-kind contributions. Leaders of the International Shelter Project have agreed that the current total of $387 million is sufficient to initiate work while they seek additional pledges.
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