(AP) - Ukraine's top emergency official said Tuesday that $420 million is still needed to pay for a new protective shelter over Chernobyl's destroyed nuclear reactor.

Emergency Situations Minister Viktor Baloga told lawmakers that a contractor to build the shelter would be chosen by the end of the year. The new shelter, which could cost $1 billion, is scheduled to be complete by 2010.

Baloga was speaking at a special parliamentary session coinciding with the fifth anniversary of Chernobyl's complete shutdown.

The 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 spewed radiation over much of northern Europe. Engineers hastily erected a shelter over the damaged reactor, while the rest of the plant continued to operate until 2000.

Experts say the shelter over Reactor No. 4 is now crumbling, and needs to be replaced.The Group of Eight, the European Union, Ukraine and other countries have already pledged funding for the project.

Officials say the proposed structure - a 100-meter-high steel arch spanning some 260 meters - could be the largest moveable structure ever built. The structure is designed to last 100 years.


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