The European Commission said Monday it would provide an extra 110 million euros to help build a new shelter over Ukraine’s Chernobyl reactor, the site of the world's worst-ever nuclear accident.
REUTERS - The European Commission said on Monday it will allocate an extra 110 million euros ($157 million) towards the cost of building a new shelter over the Chernobyl nuclear reactor which blew up in 1986.
"Tomorrow I will announce an additional pledge of 110 million euros," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters after meeting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in Kiev.
"We hope that our key partners will also step up their contributions in order to complete the works of the shelter by 2015," he said in a separate statement later.
The Chernobyl plant on Ukraine's northern border with Belarus became the site of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986 when one of its reactors exploded after a risky experiment, contaminating the surrounding area.
A makeshift shelter quickly erected over the damaged reactor within eight months after the accident has since developed cracks and holes and is no longer considered reliable.
Donor countries, including the Group of Eight and European Union members, are expected on Tuesday to pledge extra cash to build a new shell that will slip over the existing structure and allow nuclear fuel inside to be removed over time.
The conference, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the disaster on April 26, has taken on added significance with the nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami.
"At the Nuclear Safety Summit I will also press for progress towards the highest possible global standards for nuclear plants," Barroso told journalists.
The European Union is one of the principal stakeholders taking part in the Kiev conference.