EBRD puts cost of Russian occupation of Chernobyl at EUR100 million

19 May 2022

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has asked for international donors to help repair the damage left after Russian forces' control of the Chernobyl area earlier this year.

Chernobyl seen from the air (Image: EBRD video)

It says initial calculations suggest the damage caused to buildings, equipment and infrastructure will cost at least EUR100 million to repair.

As well as top soil in the exclusion zone being disturbed by Russian forces digging into position during the occupation, bridges to the site were also destroyed during the fighting, so the only way to access Chernobyl at the moment is by river.

The acting head of Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Valeriy Seyda, said that staff had managed to keep control over nuclear materials and radiological waste during the occupation - from 24 February until 31 March - but he said there had been "significant material and economic damage" and "without the support of the international community once again" they would be "unable to return to the pre-war status quo for a disastrously long time".

The list of requirements published by the EBRD includes: 

  • On-site accommodation to enable shift work
  • Monitoring and access control equipment
  • De-mining and drone defence systems
  • Firefighting vehicles
  • Replacement of damaged/looted IT
  • Repair of bridges and roads
  • Support of continued safe transfer and storage of used fuel
  • Finance to ensure the operation of the New Safe Confinement

The EBRD says that since the 1986 accident at Chernobyl there "has been unprecedented cooperation in nuclear safety" which was a cause for pride, but now, "once again, Chernobyl needs international assistance".

The EBRD was founded in 1991 to create a new post-Cold War era in central and eastern Europe, backed by 71 countries. It was tasked with a key role in the international effort made since then to help Ukraine transform Chernobyl.

Over the past three decades more than EUR2 billion was received for EBRD-managed Chernobyl projects from 45 donors and the EBRD contributed EUR715 million of its own resources.

In its latest update, on Thursday, Ukraine's nuclear power company Energoatom said that the four nuclear power plants - including Zaporizhzhia which remains under the control of Russian forces - continue to operate within safe limits. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has had a mission to Chernobyl since it returned to Ukrainian control, says that it is now once again able to receive remote monitoring reports on radiation levels from the area.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News