The IAEA and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have agreed to continue to work together, in cooperation with Ukrainian authorities, towards safe and cost-effective solutions to decommission the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and manage radioactive waste in the Exclusion Zone.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announced the IAEA-EBRD partnership today – one day after the 35th anniversary of the accident at the plant, which Mr Grossi commemorated in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The IAEA and the EBRD will closely cooperate to ensure that the funds that donors provide will be put to the best use and the ultimate goals achieved,” Mr Grossi said at today’s assembly of the International Chernobyl Cooperation Account (ICCA), convened by the EBRD. The assembly approved the Comprehensive Plan, Ukraine’s blueprint for full decommissioning and waste management.
Following the accident at reactor number four on 26 April 1986, a shelter was built over the remainders of the damaged reactor to stabilize it until a long term solution for confinement would be developed and implemented. The plant’s other three reactors, which were undamaged, were also shut down, resulting in large amounts of radioactive waste and spent fuel that has to be stored.
In a Joint Statement, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and Mr Grossi commended Ukraine on reaching two milestones: the completion of the New Safe Confinement (NSC) and the start of operation of the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISF-2). “These are key milestones, but more needs to be done to reach full decommissioning,” Mr Grossi said. The partnership will draw on the IAEA’s technical mandate, knowledge and experience, as well as its network of international experts, along with the EBRD’s project and fund management experience.
“Grateful to the EBRD, Odile Renaud-Basso and Rafael Mariano Grossi for supporting the initiative,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted at the meeting. “Together with the international community, Ukraine will succeed in turning the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant into an environmentally friendly system.”
The EBRD established the ICCA in 2020 to update, integrate and optimize existing strategies it has supported within a revised comprehensive and integrated plan for the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. “This plan will allow for coherence, optimization and transparency, and make sure that it is aligned with best international practices,” Mr Grossi said. “The IAEA will work with Ukraine on the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.”
The EBRD supports nuclear decommissioning and remediation in Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. In addition to Chornobyl-related projects, the IAEA has technical advice for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia and previously cooperated with the EBRD in environmental remediation in Central Asia through the IAEA’s Coordination Group for Uranium Legacy Sites.
Continuing IAEA support
Since 1990, the IAEA has provided €17 million to support Ukraine in environmental remediation, decommissioning and management of radioactive waste as well as to strengthen its nuclear safety framework. In 1990, it launched the International Chernobyl Project to assess the environmental and health status in the areas contaminated by the accident and to evaluate Ukraine’s measures to safeguard people’s health. Further, the IAEA, in cooperation with the governments of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and other United Nations organizations, established the Chernobyl Forum in 2003 to improve measures addressing the impact of the accident.
Since 2001, the IAEA has provided technical cooperation assistance to further support decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management at Chornobyl, including radio-ecological monitoring at the site and in its vicinity.
Read more about the IAEA’s response to the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident.
- Joint Statement by the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Director General of the IAEA
- The 1986 Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident
- Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine (Chernobyl Forum: 2003-2005), April 2006
- International Chernobyl Project
- Coordination Group for Uranium Legacy Sites