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Governments from around the world today pledged $785m (€550m) to seal the stricken nuclear reactor at Chernobyl within a 20,000-tonne steel shield that would be large enough to enclose St Paul's Cathedral in London. The huge arch is designed to prevent any further radiation from escaping for 100 years. The pledges, made at a conference in Kiev ahead of the 25th anniversary of the disaster on 26 April 2011, bring the total raised for the Chernobyl safety works to $1.8bn and will enable efforts to finally secure the reactor which caught fire in April 1986. Twenty-eight governments have so far offered money. The European commission was the biggest contributor with €110m. The US pledged €86m and Britain – which still has more than 300 hill farms in Wales under radiation restrictions following fallout from Chernobyl – will contribute €35m. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced an extra €120m. Japan, Italy and Canada are considering whether to contribute to the fund.