On April 26, 1986, the worst accident in the history of civilian nuclear power occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, where an explosion destroyed the core of reactor Unit 4 containing approximately 200 tons of nuclear fuel. The explosion and heat from the reactor core propelled radioactive material as much as six miles high, where it was then dispersed mainly over 60,000 square miles of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Smaller amounts of radioactive material spread over Eastern and Western Europe and Scandinavia and were even detected in the United States.
The Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) was founded at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 1997 aimed at financing Shelter Implementation Plant (SIP).The Fund is guided by the set of rules regarding its resource management. Contributor Governments, mainly of G-7 and European Union, contribute to the Fund. The Assembly of Contributors supervises SIP implementation progress.
The Initial SIP costs were estimated at about USD 758 million (about EUR 585 million 4) in 1997. In 2003 and 2004 technical uncertainties and delays in the SIP fulfilment became apparent, especially with the construction of NSC, which resulted in cost escalation to EUR 840 million. The causes of those cost increases and the resulting need for additional steps to control cost and time overruns were discussed at all level including the Assemblies of Contributors. All G-85 Governments agreed to increase the scale of CSF.
Such increase was tied to the requirements to be fulfilled by Ukraine, including improvement of management, removal of procedural obstacles and timely delivery of Ukraine’s contributions. Thus, as of January 2006 estimated total costs were EUR 955 million and term for SIP completion was extended from 2005 to 2010.
Due to failure in timely realization of SIP, in 2006, the Special Subgroup on the Audit of Natural, Man-caused Disasters Consequences and Radioactive Wastes Elimination of the EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing decided to conduct an international coordinated audit of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund.
The aim of the audit was the establishment of actual state of affairs regarding legal, organizational and financial support of decommissioning the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP) and transforming destroyed CNPP Unit 4 into an environmentally safe system by fulfilling the Shelter Implementation Plan.