Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chernobyl new radiation shield funding fall short

An international conference called to raise funds for new safety measures at the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster has fallen 25% short of its goal.

The Ukrainian government said it had raised 550m euros of the 740m euros ($1bn; £600m) it needed to finance a massive new radiation shield.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych said this was a "preliminary" figure.

Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear accident, sent a plume of radiation over large parts of Europe.

"The catastrophe at Chernobyl power station left a deep wound that Ukraine will need to live with for many years ahead," Mr Yanukovych said at the conference in Kiev.

"We thank the international community for not leaving Ukraine alone with this problem."

Mr Yanukovych said that to turn Chernobyl into an "ecologically safe site", it was necessary "to build a new sarcophagus around the damaged reactor as well as a secure storage facility for spent nuclear fuel."

"The catastrophe has affected millions of people; thousands died and tens of thousands continue to suffer," Mr Yanukovych said. (read more)