Chernobyl needs new radiation shield: European countries urged to chip in
25 years after the worst nuclear accident in history, hundreds of millions of euros are needed to encase Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine amid fears of another potentially disastrous radiation leak.
European and Ukrainian officials are trying to drum up hundreds of millions of euros to complete the project of encasing the site in steel. According to the Independent, the EU has contributed around €500m so far, but another €740 is needed:
In recent years, the structure has become extremely unstable, with experts warning that if it collapses, a catastrophic amount of radiation could be released into the atmosphere. Stopgap stabilising work on one of the walls of the sarcophagus has reduced the chances of collapse and extended its life by around 15 years, but this might not be enough to prevent a disaster.
The UK, which received significant fallout from the disaster at Chernobyl, is being pressured to chip in a further €53.1m, in addition to the €50m it has already contributed to the construction of the containment structure. Once completed, it is believed that the new shelter should be safe for another 100 years. The safety of current shield is estimated to expire by 2016.
From the Guardian:
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has been overseeing the spending of the money at Chernobyl, admitted squeezing out more money at this time was a “big challenge”.
Estimates of deaths caused by the Chernobyl accident and resultant fallout range from 4,000 to 200,000. Whatever the figure, it’s safe to say the plant is worth sealing whatever the cost.
This is a bailout we can all surely get behind.