By Shaun Walker in Chernobyl
Monday, 28 February 2011
Workers at the Chernobyl site last week. The last reactor closed in 2000
Fears that the destroyed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl could collapse and again leak deadly radiation have prompted European agencies to seek hundreds of millions of pounds to fund the construction of a vast steel building to encase the site.
As the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history approaches, there is a funding shortfall of €740m (£631m) for projects to build a "shelter" over the destroyed reactor and to safely store nuclear fuel from the other nuclear reactors at the site.
The new shelter for the destroyed reactor is being funded by the European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in co-operation with the Ukrainian government, but European officials say they urgently need countries to pledge money for the project, which is under way but underfunded. They hope that a conference in April, ahead of the anniversary of the disaster, will see governments donate the missing funds