MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti), Nikita Alentyev – The current geopolitical tensions in Ukraine could impact the construction of a safe confinement system at Chernobyl, Lisa Carmody, a spokesperson for the Ireland-based Chernobyl Children International, told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“We have been following what’s going on and tracking anything that has to do with the sarcophagus. We have concerns that it could be delayed, although we are not saying that it will be delayed,” Camrody said.
She explained that “the Irish government has donated 8 million [euros] to the sarcophagus and with everything that has been happening in Ukraine and Russia there’s obviously a concern that the project will get delayed and that might affect the Irish government’s input.”
Fabienne Bouloc, a spokesperson for the French Bouygues company jointly responsible for the confinement construction told RIA Novosti the project is running on time. Bouloc added that “the current political situation in Ukraine has no consequence for the work of the project with no changes to the schedule since the most recent press kit.”
The project is financed through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Speaking to RIA Novosti, Anton Usov, a senior press officer for EBRD in Kiev, also said “the construction is on schedule,” attributing the unavailability of the online webcast of the work to “technical problems.”
The core concern voiced by the Chernobyl Children International is whether “the funding will be there for the project to be going ahead.”
“The reactor is leaking as it is, that’s the worry. The current shield is not enclosing the leak fully, not preventing it,” Camrody said, reiterating the concern that geopolitics might interfere with the construction schedule.
The Head of Nuclear Safety Department of EBRD, Vince Novak, will be talking to the press with official updates on the construction schedule on Thursday.
The French-led consortium Novarka is building the giant, arch-shaped steel structure to cover the crumbling concrete dome that was built following the explosion. The project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion and is expected to be completed next year.