The G8 members (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States of America and the European Union) are increasing their contributions to the clean-up of Chernobyl by an additional amount of approximately ? 62 million.

According to a EBRD press-release, forwarded to UNIAN, this was announced today at a pledging event held at EBRD’s headquarters and co-chaired by G8 Chair (Japan) and Ukraine.

 At the event, the Ukrainian Minister for Emergency Situations, Volodymyr Shandra, thanked the International Donor Community for their support in helping to overcome the consequences of the 1986 accident pledged another ?8 million to the EBRD-managed Nuclear Safety Account.

 The current chairman of the G8 group for nuclear safety and security, Yasuyoshi Komizo, said on behalf of G8 that the additional pledges were a sign of the international community’s commitment to bringing the projects at Chernobyl to a successful conclusion. “We invite all other donor nations to join us in these efforts with new contributions,” he added.

 The additional funds will be used for the completion of the spent fuel storage facility for more than 20,000 spent fuel assemblies generated during the operation of Chernobyl units 1-3. A contract for the completion of the works was signed with Holtec International in September 2007 and design work is currently under way. The storage facility is financed through the Nuclear Safety Account, which so far has recorded close to ? 300 million in contributions.

 The new pledges from the G8 members and Ukraine come on top of a ?135 million donation from the EBRD of which ?77 million will also be used for the spent fuel storage facility. The Bank’s Board of Governors approved the grant as part of a decision on the use of its 2007 net income at its Annual Meeting in May.

 The Nuclear Safety Account has received contributions from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

 The second large project in Chernobyl is the construction of the New Safe Confinement, for which a contract was awarded to the Novarka consortium last year. The design and preparatory work are currently under way. The project is financed by the EBRD-managed Chernobyl Sheleter Fund which so far has recorded total contributions of ?770 million. Additional funds will be required to complete this programme.