The decision on the pre-schedule closure of Chornobyl NPP was made by Ukraine after signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and Governments of the G7 countries and the Commission of the European Community on December 25, 1995.

Basic information: Post-accident operation and shutdown

On November 29, 2000, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued a Decree, which approved the “Comprehensive Program for Chornobyl NPP Decommissioning”. It was a state-level document that defined the content of the decommissioning of the ChNPP Power Units and the transformation of the Shelter Object into an environmentally safe system.

In 2009, the Law of Ukraine "On the National Program for Decommissioning of the Chornobyl NPP and Transformation of the Shelter Object into an Environmentally Safe System" was adopted. The Comprehensive Program 2000 lost its significance and was terminated.

The strategy of “deferred sequential dismantling” SAFSTOR (from SAFe STORage in English – safe storage, storage under surveillance) was selected for the ChNPP.

The SAFSTOR's strategy foresees that NPP with removed nuclear fuel is under control for a certain period, after which the work will be done to fulfil the conditions of the end state established for this site. During the period of such storage, the total level of radioactive contamination of the reactor will be reduced due to the natural decay of some radioactive substances, which will reduce the amount of radioactive materials, which are subject to removal during the final decommissioning stage.

In accordance with the National Program, decommissioning is carried out in 4 stages:
1. Shutdown (preparatory stage for decommissioning, lasted from 2000 till 2015). The stage during which nuclear fuel was removed and transported to the Spent Fuel Storage Facility designed for long-term storage.
2. Final shutdown and preservation of reactor installations (current stage, from 2015 approximately till 2028). The tasks of this stage are as follows:
    • Bringing the ChNPP Units to the state that excludes the possibility of using them for power generation.
    • Removal of ionizing radiation sources that are subject to control from Power Units.
    • Preservation of reactors and the most radioactively contaminated equipment.
3. Safe enclosure of reactor installations for the period during which radioactive contamination should be naturally decreased to the acceptable level (roughly till 2045).
4. Dismantling of reactor installations. During this stage the equipment will be dismantled and the site will be cleaned to ensure maximum release from restrictions and regulatory control (approximately till 2065).

The “Brown spot” state is the final objective of ChNPP decommissioning.

"Brown spot" is a state which actually means cleaning the site and building structures to the level of contamination that corresponds to the contamination within the Exclusion Zone territory around the ChNPP.

Taking into account the particularities of the Chornobyl NPP location and prospects for creation of the Zone of Special Industrial Use within the Exclusion Zone, a concept for further development of the Chornobyl NPP will be developed, in which the end state of the site will be determined as "Industrially developed site". The development of the ChNPP site should not only reduce the burden on the state budget, associated with maintenance of the Exclusion Zone, elimination of consequences of the Chornobyl accident and decommissioning of the ChNPP, but also restore the abandoned land for economic activity and give impetus to economic development of the Polissia region.

For this purpose, it is necessary to efficiently use the following specific features of the Exclusion Zone and the ChNPP industrial site:
• Availability of developed production infrastructure: systems of communications, power supply, physical security, water supply, radiation monitoring, railroad and motor access ways.
• Isolation from centers of population.
• Availability of personnel competent in radioactive material management.
• Location within the Exclusion Zone, being the restricted inhabitation area.

We propose to focus on more active use of the above specific features and potentialities of the ChNPP industrial site and Exclusion Zone for the needs of the nuclear industry of Ukraine, with regard to NPP Units decommissioning and radioactive material management.

Since the ChNPP is located within the area that was radioactively contaminated as a result of the 1986 accident and some engineering structures of Unit 3 are common with the Shelter Object, the end goal of decommissioning ChNPP is such a condition that conventionally may be called a ‘brown spot’. The ‘brown spot’ is a condition of a site, where dismantling of equipment, structures, and buildings is complete and radioactivity of engineering structures, being the sources of ionizing radiation, is within the levels established for a restricted release from regulatory control. Actually, this is a cleanup of the site and engineering structures down to the contamination level similar to the one present within the Exclusion Zone around the ChNPP and resulting from the 1986 accident. However, in the current context such a final status of the ChNPP site is economically inadvisable.

Over the past five years, development of the conceptual documents concerning the Chornobyl NPP power units decommissioning was completely finished. Before 2009, ‘The Comprehensive Program of the Chornobyl NPP Decommissioning’ approved by Resolution No. 1747 issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 29 November 2000 was the principal national-level document that guided activities for the Chornobyl NPP power units decommissioning and transformation of the Shelter Object into an ecologically safe system.

In 2009, following adoption of the Law of Ukraine titled ‘On the National Program for the Chornobyl NPP Decommissioning and Transformation of the Shelter Object into an Ecologically Safe System’, the Comprehensive Program became out-of-date and ceased to be effective. The National Program describes strategies for decommissioning the Chornobyl NPP units and transformation of the Shelter Object into an ecologically safe system. Also, the document includes estimation of funding needs and a list of top-priority activities (till 2013) required to implement the strategies.


According to the requirements of General provisions of Safety assurance during Nuclear Power Plants and Research Nuclear Reactors decommissioning, the following tasks should be performed during ChNPP decommissioning:
1. Safety assurance during Units 1,2,3 decommissioning.
2. Protection of the personnel, population and environment against harmful influence ionizing radiations and protection of the future generations.
3. Bringing of power units 1,2,3 in a condition excluding possibility of subsequent use of this power installations for the purposes for which they have been constructed.
4. Performance of a complex of measures to achieve at the territory occupied by units 1,2,3 and auxiliary constructions, conditions which as much as possible reduce restriction for utilization of this territory. That stipulates:
- Step-by-step liberation fro9m ionizing radiation sources, subject to the control;
- A cancellation of restrictions and reductions of the radiation control in supervision zone and in sanitary - protective zone of ChNPP.