The construction of a new Shelter facility at Chernobyl nuclear power plant will cost ?1.09 billion, Emergency Situations Minister David Zhvania told reporters in Slavutych (Kyiv region), Interfax-Ukraine reported.

All the needed money for funding the construction project has already been raised, he said. The winner of the tender will be named in September and the construction of an arch will start in December.

"We hope all construction work will begin in December," Zhvania said.

The minister said that the French consortium, which was supposed to build the second spent fissile fuel storage facility, did not cope with its tasks. In this connection the Ukrainian side insisted on holding an international audit.

According to Zhvania, the audit has not been performed yet, forcing the Ukrainian side to take measures to decommission the plant independently.

Spent fissile fuel from the third Chernobyl reactor will be removed to the first storage facility within a year and a half, which will make it possible to avoid a delay in the construction of the new containment, Zhvania said.

As reported, the second storage facility is being built by a consortium of Framatome, Campenon Bernard, Bouygues (all French-based). The total cost of the project is around ?95 million. (om/ez)

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