Protecting the world from Chernobyl: The world’s ‘largest moveable land-based structure’ which will contain exploded nuclear reactor is unveiled as £2billion project is completed
- The New Safety Confinement took nine years to build and has a mammoth total weight of 36,000 metric tons
- In 1986, Reactor 4 of the nuclear power plant blew up and flooded the north of Ukraine with deadly radiation
- This facility was designed to trap the radioactive debris and prevent further crumbling of the reactor
A £2billion project to confine the leaking of radioactive debris at the Chernobyl nuclear plant has been unveiled.
The structure – which took nine years to build – was constructed to secure the molten reactor core and 200 tons of radioactive material at the site.
Officials have described the shelter as the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 metres and a total weight of over 36,000 metric tons.
Reactor Number 4 at the plant in what was then Soviet Ukraine exploded and burned on April 26, 1986, spewing radiation across Europe in the world’s worst nuclear accident.
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The New Safe Confinement to encase the infamous Chernobyl nuclear reactor has been unveiled in the Ukrainian ghost town
The structure – which took nine years to build – was constructed to secure the molten reactor core and 200 tons of radioactive material at the site
Ukraine and its European partners formally inaugurated a new metal dome encasing the destroyed reactor at the infamous Chernobyl plant, wrapping up a two-decade effort to contain the radiation leakage
When Reactor 4 exploded in 1986, it spewed out deadly radioactive particles which killed an estimated 9,000 people and still makes much of the area uninhabitable today
A person using a dosimeter to measure radioactivity next to the older shelter protecting Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
Thirty workers died either from the explosion or from acute radiation sickness within several months.
About 600,000 people had exposure to radiation at elevated levels while fighting the fire at the plant or working to clean up the contamination.
The accident exposed millions in the region to dangerous levels of radiation and forced a permanent evacuation of about 350,000 people from hundreds of towns and villages in Ukraine and Belarus.
The disaster’s eventual death toll has been subject to speculation and dispute, but the World Health Organisation’s cancer research arm has estimated that 9,000 people were to die of exposure-related cancer and leukaemia if Chernobyl disaster’s health effects follow a similar pattern to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
The new confinement structure – opened by Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy – was designed to safeguard radioactive debris and prevent further crumbling of the reactor.
Yesterday, the New Safe Confinement was shown to visitors and journalists who toured the facility which was built to limit the radioactive leak from the plant
Officials have described the shelter as the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 metres and a total weight of over 36,000 metric tons
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a commissioning ceremony for a new metal dome designed and built by French consortium Novarka
Deputy project manager Victor Zalizetskyi, who has been part of construction and repairs at the Chernobyl plant since 1987, said he was ‘filled with pride’ that he got to work on a job ‘that has such a big importance for all humankind.’
However, Mr Zalizetskyi previously expressed concern that war-torn Ukraine might struggle to cover the maintenance costs for the reactor’s new enclosure.
He noted that costly and complicated work such as dismantling unstable sections of the power plant still needs to be done.
‘It looks like Ukraine will be left alone to deal with this structure,’ he said. ‘The work is not done yet, and we need to think about how to finance this project in the future.’
Visitors take a photo of the New Safe Confinement covering the fourth block of Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in Ukraine
An employee looks at monitors in the brand new control room of the New Safe Confinement, designed to limit the amount of radiation seeping out into the exclusion zone
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (middle) donned a lab coat, gas mask and hard hat as he toured the facility yesterday
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