4 Aug (NucNet): Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate approved on 1 August 2017 the start of integrated system testing at the newly built interim spent fuel storage facility on the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, project developer Holtec International said in a statement. US-based Holtec said the initial cold testing phase is expected to transition to hot pre-commissioning testing in December 2017, while the first spent fuel deliveries are scheduled for the beginning of March 2018. A programme for the design and construction of the facility, known as ISF2, began in 1997 with international funding managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The facility will store spent fuel from Units 1, 2 and 3 at Chernobyl. In 2007, Holtec took over the project after the withdrawal of France’s state-controlled Areva over construction problems. According to the EBRD, the facility will process, dry and cut more than 21,000 fuel assemblies from Chernobyl-1, -2 and -3. The assemblies will then be placed in double-walled canisters and stored in concrete modules onsite for a minimum of 100 years. The EBRD said the project is costing around €380m ($451m) and is jointly funded by the EBRD and the EBRD-managed Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) fund. The 18 NSA donors have committed more than €280m to safety projects at Chernobyl. The EBRD provided more than €200m of its own funding for the construction of the ISF2. Holtec said when it begins operation ISF2 will be the world’s largest interim spent fuel storage facility. Units 1, 2 and 3 at Chernobyl, all of the Soviet RBMK reactor design, were shut down permanently in 1996, 1991, and 2000. Unit 4, also an RBMK, was destroyed by an explosion in the April 1986 accident.