With the permanent shut down of unit 3, Ukraine has finally closed the Chernobyl nuclear power station, more than 14 years after the accident which wrecked unit 4 at the plant, affected life, health and the environment in the Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation and changed dramatically the public perception of nuclear power throughout the world.

The close has been greeted with satisfaction by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agency has assisted Ukraine and other affected countries in overcoming the consequences of the accident. Afterwards, it significantly expanded its nuclear safety programme, facilitating the negotiation of a convention on the safety of nuclear installations and other international agreements in the areas of notification and assistance in cases of nuclear accidents, liability and waste management.

One of the major effects of the accident was to call into question the safety of Soviet designed nuclear reactors. This has led to modifications to several plants in Eastern Europe but disquiet still persists in some countries.

Ukraine now faces the task of decommissioning the remaining units at Chernobyl and of managing radioactive waste. The country has committed itself to maintaining high levels of safety at all its nuclear facilities.