A massive engineering project to make the Chernobyl nuclear power plant safe is facing a €265m (£190m) funding shortfall.
Next week a conference held by Germany in London will call on countries to make up the gap, but the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has said it may have to ask its shareholders to make up the shortfall if donations dry up.
This Sunday marks the 29th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, when a power surge blew the roof off a reactor, spewing radioactive clouds across Russia, and eastern Europe.
A makeshift sarcophagus built in the explosion’s aftermath was supposed to protect the environment from radiation for at least 30 years. But it has since developed cracks.
The project to build a new radiation container had been due for completion this year but the deadline slipped to November 2017, as costs mushroomed from an initial estimate of €800m (£572m) to more than €2.15bn today.
Over 40 governments and the European commission have committed to help a Chernobyl Shelter Fund tasked with sealing off the 100 tonnes of uranium and one tonne of plutonium that remain within the site.