History of Chоrnobyl

Chornobyl after the collapse of the Soviet Union

Chornobyl after the collapse of the Soviet Union: economic and socio-political consequences
Thirty-five years ago, on April 26, 1986, 4 power units exploded at the Chornobyl NPP. As a result of the destruction of the reactor core, a radioactive cloud covered Ukraine, Russia and Belarus - these are the countries most affected by radiation pollution. The radiation trace remained in many European countries.
In terms of its political, economic, social, humanitarian, medical and biological consequences, the accident was the greatest catastrophe in human history. And at the same time, one of the main catalysts for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The accident was the last straw that filled the cup of human patience. The authorities' concealment of the truth about the catastrophe and its consequences, the lack of information about security measures and the lack of assistance to the victims shook faith in the value of the communist ideal of ​​the USSR, even among its most loyal supporters.
This is how a fellow party member addressed the leader of the people after the tragedy:
"Dear Mikhail Sergeevich (Gorbachev)!
We hope that you know about the situation in Kyiv. As of May 7 - panic. Stations, airports, bus stations are crowded with people, mostly with children. They try to take out, mainly, children. Why is this situation happening? Because the example in this was shown by heads of all levels, including the highest positions in the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Council of Ministers, city, city executive committees, heads of enterprises and institutions. The first days after the accident, they sent their children to other parts of the country, even taking them away from school. The people saw all this, learned and rushed to follow their example. And there was panic. People quit their jobs, and there are no tickets at the station. Nobody explains anything. Their children were rescued, and ours were abandoned. ... Can we, ordinary people, ordinary communists, now trust the leaders? I stopped trusting. Others say the same. We will not go into reconnaissance with such leaders.
The accident at the nuclear power plant revealed the central ulcer of our reality: the separation of the top from the people, concern only for personal.
... Our society has suffered enormous moral losses. All this can lead to the final collapse of our country…
Regards! Kyiv City Council of the Communist Party of Ukraine"
In addition, Moscow's attempts to hide the truth about the catastrophe and its consequences have strengthened the opposition national-democratic movement, joined by environmentalists - activists in the fight against environmental pollution. In many regions of Ukraine, people began to protest against the construction of new and operation of old nuclear power plants, the relevant publications in the press.
The first public organizations of the USSR were formed around the theme of the Chernobyl accident. Soon, two organizations, the Green World and the Chernobyl Union, became a political force.
Protests against the construction of new and operation of old nuclear power plants swept the regions of Ukraine. Thousands of people took part in them. However, as opposed by the KGB, on April 26, 1988, the first unauthorized demonstration took place in Kyiv under the slogans - "Down with the nuclear power plant from Ukraine", "UCC - for a nuclear-free Ukraine", "We do not want dead zones", "NPP - for a referendum", "Industry, land, water - under environmental control "," A personal dosimeter to everyone".
Chernobyl also finally undermined the economic foundations of the Soviet Union. Overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl accident is an unprecedented scientific, technological, and economic challenge. Before the collapse of the USSR, expenditures to overcome the consequences of the Chernobyl accident were financed from the all-Union budget. During 1986-1989, the total amount of losses and expenses for liquidating the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe amounted to about 12.6 billion dollars. In 1990, the corresponding additional expenditures from the USSR budget amounted to $ 4.1 billion. And $ 1.4 billion from the republican budgets of the Russian Federation, Belarus and Ukraine. In 1991, $ 14 billion was allocated from the union budget, which was used only partially. At the end of the year, the funds of the already newly independent states were used for these purposes.
After all, an empire built on lies has fallen. The process of overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster has become the sole responsibility of each former Soviet republic.
As a result of the accident, Ukraine suffered the most, having lost part of its natural and economic potential, inherited the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant from the USSR, and, together with the international community, had to seek answers to security challenges posed by the Chernobyl disaster. Ukraine financed the decommissioning of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant; measures aimed at the facility's safe operation and social protection of the victims of the Chernobyl accident and participants in the liquidation of its consequences.
After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine inherited two objects, the condition of which required immediate action and, accordingly, funds.
The shelter built in 1986 over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (the so-called "Sarcophagus") was a temporary solution, and its technical condition needed urgent repair and replacement. The second is the storage of "wet" spent nuclear fuel (SNFSF-1), put into operation in 1986, where the Chernobyl atomic fuel was stored, accumulated before the station's shutdown in 2000. SVYAP-1 was not designed for long-term fuel storage and was already 99% full. Therefore, Ukraine desperately needed financial assistance in the construction of both new safe confinement (NSC), a new modern spent nuclear fuel storage facility (SNFSF-2) and a liquid radioactive waste reprocessing plant (LRWP).
In 1997, a meeting of the G7 adopted a Shelter Implementation Plan. This plan, developed with the European Commission, Ukraine and the United States, defined the logic of action and specific measures to bring the Shelter facility to an environmentally safe state. In the same year, a particular Chornobyl Shelter Fund was established to finance the relevant activities. Its management was entrusted to the EBRD, which, at the same time, became its largest donor. In total, the Fund financed the implementation of the Shelter Action Plan for about 2.15 billion euros.
The total cost of the NSC construction project was about 1.5 billion euros. Of these, 1.41 billion euros were contributed by the international community and another 105.9 million euros by Ukraine. The construction of the NSC was planned to be completed in 2012, but in reality the NSC was ready only in 2019. Numerous delays have made the facility more expensive. In 2019, the construction of SVYAP-2 was also completed. This storage will store fuel assemblies from the Chernobyl NPP and other NPPs of Ukraine.
The construction of SNF-2 is financed from the EBRD's International Nuclear Safety Account, which is also a donor to Ukraine. The cost of the project is 448.2 million euros.
In 2014, the construction of a liquid radioactive waste processing plant worth about 19.7 million euros will be completed, which was financed by Ukraine and the EBRD Nuclear Safety Account.
In the same period from 1991 to 2015, Ukraine itself spent about $ 20 billion to eliminate the consequences of the Chernobyl accident. And this even though in 1991-1999, 2008-2009 and 2013-2014, the country experienced deep economic crises. Therefore, the financial and technical assistance of the international community is difficult to overestimate.
In 2020, the Chernobyl Shelter Fund was closed, and in November of the same year, the EBRD created a new fund - the International Cooperation Account for Chernobyl. The Fund should finance further activities related to the decommissioning of the Chernobyl NPP, the operation of the NSC and the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel at the Chernobyl site.
The Chernobyl strategy envisages the complete decommissioning of the plant in 4 stages. The first stage (2000-2015) - decommissioning the Chernobyl nuclear power plant - has already been implemented. The second stage (2015-2028) is underway - the stage of closing and conservation of reactor units. There are two more stages ahead - the stage of holding the reactor units (2028-2045) and their dismantling (2045 - 2064). This means that Ukraine must spend money on the decommissioning of Chernobyl by 2065 and actively cooperate with the international community in implementing this strategy.
As for current expenses, in 2021, the Government plans to allocate UAH 1.36 billion to maintain the safe condition of power units and the Shelter facility and prepare for the decommissioning of the Chernobyl NPP. At the same time, as of July 2020, 1,747,803 people in Ukraine had the status of accident victims. The budget for 2021 provides for 2.57 billion hryvnias for the social protection of these citizens.