Losses from Chornobyl Disaster to Approximate USD 180 Billion in 2015 - Ukrainian President

Apr 26, 2013, 14:14 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

In order to minimize the economic losses from the disaster which may reach USD 180 billion in 2015, it is important to come up with a comprehensive development program for the regions affected by the Chornobyl Nuclear Power plant explosion in 1986. Such statement was made by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych during his visit to the plant in Chornobyl on the 27th anniversary of the nuclear disaster. Construction of a new safe confinement is one of the core aspects of converting the zone into an ecologically safe area, reiterated President Yanukovych.

About 2,700 people are still employed at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power plant, despite the fact that the last reactor has been shut down in 2000. The parliament of Ukraine has adopted a program of plant decommissioning which includes four stages: extracting the nuclear fuel (2010-2013), conservation of the reactor systems (2013-2022), decreasing radioactivity of the systems (2022-2045), and dismantling them (2045-2065).

On April 26, 2013, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov informed that the works on the new safe confinement for the fourth reactor at the Chornobyl plant are underway and will be concluded in 2015. The New Safe Confinement project, supported by more than 40 donor nations, is funded through The Chornobyl Shelter Fund, established in December 1997.

Currently, the reactor is contained by the original sarcophagus, constructed hastily as the firemen and rescue team workers put out the fire in the reactor. More than 400 thousand m3 of concrete and 7,300 tons of metal were used to lock in tons of uranium, plutonium, radioactive corium, and contaminated dust. Risking their health and life, about 600,000 people participated in the rescue works at Chornobyl over the period of several years after the disaster.

As a result of the explosion at the fourth reactor at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power plant, located 100 kilometers north of the capital of Ukraine Kyiv, radioactive substances contaminated the area of 145,000 square kilometers, including the territories of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Nearly 5 million people were affected by the disaster. The area with the radius of 30 kilometers around the plant officially remains uninhabited.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine