U.S. Participation in the Kyiv Summit and Chornobyl Pledging Conference
On April 19 former National Security Advisor Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft, and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar will represent the United States at the Kyiv Summit on the Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy, as well as the Chornobyl Pledging Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. Coming on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the accident at the Chornobyl power plant, United States participation in the Summit and the pledging conference reflects our longstanding commitment to the clean-up of the Chornobyl site. At the pledging conference, the United States will announce a major new contribution ($123 million) to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) and the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA), the two funds managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance projects to complete the mutual efforts of the G-8, the Government of Ukraine, and international donors and partners to restore the site of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident to an environmentally safe and stable condition.
The United States has been the largest bilateral donor to the CSF and the NSA, which are administered by the EBRD, providing nearly $240 million in funding to date ($203 million to the CSF and $34.5 million to the NSA, respectively).
The goal of the Chornobyl Pledging Conference, which will be attended by approximately 50 countries, is to raise some $1 billion to complete the construction by 2015 of a permanent steel and concrete shelter over damaged reactor Number 4 to replace the temporary concrete sarcophagus now in place, and to construct a safe storage facility for the spent fuel from the damaged reactor.
In addition to its contributions towards mitigating the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster, the United States has provided substantial financial and technical assistance to nuclear safety and related projects in Ukraine implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy and Ukrainian partners. These projects have included improving the physical security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, providing advanced maintenance training and hardware, full-scope simulators, spent fuel dry cask storage, training for emergency procedures, and over $70 million on the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Project to develop an alternate source of nuclear fuel.
From 1992-2010, the Department of State through the Office of the Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia humanitarian program coordinated and funded 75 humanitarian shipments to Ukraine and Belarus, specifically in support of the victims of the Chornobyl nuclear accident. These shipments so far have provided humanitarian commodities, including pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and medical equipment, valued in excess of $100 million.
The Chornobyl Children's Illness Program, funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development, has provided an integrated development approach to address enhancing thyroid cancer and psychological services in preventative and therapeutic care following the Chornobyl accident. The program, implemented by a consortium led by Medical Service Corporation International, focused on four regions most affected by radiation fallout. It established clinics for screening thyroid tumors and psychosocial problems, and trained mobile teams and installed equipment to provide screening in remote areas. A total of about 116,000 adolescents were screened over the course of this $4 million program.
- The United States has also been involved with a number of studies measuring the long-term health effects of the Chornobyl disaster. With co-funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the U.S National Institutes of Health, has conducted epidemiological research focused in particular on children and Chornobyl clean-up workers. Besides contributing to enhanced knowledge of the thyroid cancer risk in Chornobyl survivors due to exposure to radioactive iodine (I-131), two other studies have assisted officials in developing appropriate health care programs and screening at-risk populations for early detection of thyroid disease, when treatment is most effective. A third study, which ends this year, has focused on leukemia among 110,000 of the clean-up workers in Ukraine who worked in the 30 kilometer-wide Chornobyl Exclusion Zone between 1986 and 1991. This study has benefited Ukraine by addressing health concerns involving these clean-up workers and by establishing a leukemia registry to identify all cases occurring between 1987 and 2000.