The 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl (Video)
2011-04-27 0:00


"It has been twenty-five years since the tragedy at Chernobyl Nuclear power plant. Scientists, world leaders, and some witnesses of the chaos look back and ahead on the 25th Anniversary."

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Chernobyl monument; in the background: the cooling tower of reactor #4. Photo: Timm Suess, Flickr

The monument to Chernobyl nuclear plant rescuers in the Kiev Region, Ukraine. Photo: Alexander Mazurkevich, STR VisualRian

Huge steel arch to seal off Chernobyl reactor
By Evan Ackerman |

The Chernobyl #4 reactor has been sort of contained by a leaky and unstable "sarcophagus" since shortly after its meltdown 25 years ago today. As a more permanent solution to the problem, an international effort will place a gigantic steel arch over the site to seal it off, with three robot cranes inside to help clean up the mess.

The project, called New Safe Containment, has been in the works since 1992, and while the original completion date was supposed to be 2005, we’re now looking at the summer of 2014. The basic idea is to just seal up the worst of the radioactive debris inside a an arch-shaped structure that’s taller than the Statue of Liberty and about three football fields wide.

Since it’s too dangerous to do the construction over the reactor building itself, the arch will be pieced together several hundred yards away and then slid into position along Teflon rails until it covers the existing sarcophagus. Once it’s in the right spot, the sides will be sealed, and robot cranes will begin dismantling the existing containment structure and sending the waste out to be safely stored.

Below is a video detailing the build that should give you a good idea of how the process is supposed to turn out. As for the impact that the new containment structure will have on the surrounding region, well, less radiation is always better, right?

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New "safe" confinement over the reactor #4

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