Upon the completion of the New Safe Confinement for the destroyed reactor block 4 at the nuclear power plant Chernobyl, Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks explained:
"The New Safe Confinement reminds us of the most serious accident in history related to civil use of nuclear power. The confinement structure's monumental breadth and height makes it a memorial, visible from afar, of the grave moral and technical mistakes of nuclear power and of the incalculable consequences of nuclear disasters. It took three decades and significant international efforts to complete the structure and to put it into place. The architects, engineers and construction workers deserve respect for their unparalleled technical achievement. Nonetheless, the confinement structure has not solved the problems at Chernobyl. It only lays the foundations for starting to dismantle the reactor ruins – and this for only a period of one hundred years. Even after that time, dealing with the nuclear remains in Chernobyl will be a burden for future generations."
The total costs of the project stand at approximately 2.1 billion euros. Germany has contributed around 200 million euros. For radiation protection purposes, the confinement was assembled on a specially made assembly platform at some distance from the Chernobyl sarcophagus, and was then pushed over it. Now work has begun on connecting the New Safe Confinement with the existing structures.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the worst to date, had far reaching and lasting impacts on human health, the environment and the economy, posing great difficulties for the former Soviet Union – and now for Russia, Belarus and especially Ukraine. Even today extensive stretches of land are still contaminated. The region around the reactor in a radius of 30 kilometres was and continues to be an exclusion zone.