Steel Skeleton at a Deathly Site
Photograph by Sergey Dolzhenko, European Pressphoto Agency
The so-called New Safe Confinement, designed to seal the destroyed reactor and contain the radioactive material inside, is the latest step in a more than 26-year cleanup at the desolate plant site in Ukraine. (Related Quiz: “What Do You Know About Nuclear Power?“)
On April 26, 1986, an explosion in one of the plant’s reactors spewed large amounts of radioactive material over Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia. The immediate area was evacuated, but the cloud that rose from the burning reactor spread iodine and radionuclides over much of Europe. Some 30 workers were killed immediately, and as many as 4,000 people are expected to die eventually as a result of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl plant, by the World Health Organization’s reckoning. Some estimates of the excess cancer toll are far higher. …
….A plan for a more permanent protective solution, developed more than 15 years ago by European and Western experts, finally is being put into action. The $2 billion (1.6 billion Euro) effort, funded by more than two dozen nations and the European Union, is “an unparalleled project in the history of engineering,” says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the project administrator…..
After shoring up the sarcophagus, workers raised the first section of the new structure’s arched roof, seen here in November….