LAST OF the four reactors at the Ukrainian nuclear power station Chernobyl is to be shut down on Friday.
Three reactors have remained in operation since Chernobyl's No 4 reactor went critical, spewing a plume of radiation into the atmosphere in 1986. Reactors No 1 and 2 were closed last year.
A multi billion pound decommissioning scheme is now being drawn up, provisionally valued at £500M a year.
Work is continuing on the £506M project to stabilise and close the sarcophagus containing the No 4 reactor. The reactor was badly damaged in the 1986 explosion and there are fears that without major civils work it will collapse, throwing up a cloud of toxic dust.
Funding made available by the G7 nations for both projects is being administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development.
The EBRD is also to manage work to complete Ukraine's Khmelnitsky 2 and Rivne 4 reactors, put on hold mid-way through construction after the Chernobyl meltdown.
The upgrading and safety work to be carried out on both new reactors has a combined value of £150M. Permission to start is conditional on approval by international nuclear regulators. The Ukraine is expected to be lent technical assistance by British engineers.