Exclusion Zone becomes a territory of safety and change

Nearly 32 years ago, the Chornobyl nuclear explosion shocked the whole world. The largest nuclear accident in the world, due to which the Exclusion Zone arose around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, has long linked in the minds of people the concepts of "Chornobyl", "radiation" and "fear". However, today we are taking steps to change the established stereotypes, which Vitalii Petruk, Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management told at the press conference.

"Now the main product that the Exclusion Zone produces is security. First of all, it is the protection of the population of Ukraine and the environment from the consequences of the accident and the risk of spreading radionuclides outside the Exclusion Zone, "- Head of SAUEZM says.

In 32 years after the accident, the level of radiation in the Exclusion Zone has decreased by 10,000 times, and after the arrival of a new safe confinement in the design position - by another 10 times at the ChNPP industrial site. However, the progress made does not end. At present, work on sealing of the NSC is underway in difficult radiation conditions. The commissioning of a new safe confinement is scheduled for November 2018.

"Immediately after the commissioning of the NSC, we must proceed to dismantling unstable structures of the Shelter, for which a new safe confinement was constructed," - Vitalii Petruk commented.

On April 17, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the first reading the bill "On Amendments to the National Program for Decommissioning of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and transforming the Shelter Object into an Ecologically Safe System". This program should provide stable financing, as well as a plan of action on the ChNPP industrial site until 2020, including work on the NSC.

"One more priority for us is the safe handling of radioactive waste in the isolated area of the 10-kilometer zone around the ChNPP. According to Ukrainian legislation, all radioactive waste is a state property and we must ensure their safe transportation, handling and storage. Now for us an important task is to install around the ChNPP the territory of special industrial use. Because of the high levels of contamination here, people will not return for the next 24,000 years,"- Vitalii Petruk says.

Today at the 10-kilometer area around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (the so-called "desiatka"), the development of a system for handling Ukrainian radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel continues. In particular, construction of the "Dry" spent nuclear fuel storage facility No. 2, which is intended for storing SNF of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant for 100 years, is completed here. The start of "hot" tests of SNFSF-2, when the first batches of fuel assemblies will be transported from the "wet" type of ISF-1 to the new storage facility, is scheduled for December 2018. In addition, this year the first stage of the Vector complex will be put into operation.

Given the rapid pace of development of the RW management infrastructure on the territory of the Exclusion Zone, the creation of a special industrial use area was initiated here. The relevant bill was approved by the Government and is currently submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for consideration.

Adoption in the first reading as the basis of the draft Law of Ukraine "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Improving Legislation on Radioactive Waste Management" which introduce a new European classification of radioactive waste for burial is a systematic step towards the transformation of the 10-kilometer zone around ChNPP into the territory of industrial use.
"We need to bring the Ukrainian classification of radioactive waste in line with international standards, so that further development of the system of radioactive waste management takes place in the most effective way from a financial and ecological point of view. Starting from July 1, 2018, the targeted use of funds from the RW will start and we will do our best to make them most effective," - Vitalii Petruk, Head of SAUEZM, commented.

The Exclusion Zone, with the advent of high-tech security facilities, becomes a real "territory of change". All the infrastructure that is developing here is designed to create a unique security layer, a buffer between the radioactively contaminated territory and the rest of Ukraine and protect future generations from the effects of ionizing radiation.

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