Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

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The Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus is on the verge of collapse

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The experts alerted on the possible collapse and already began the tasks to dismantle it. The structure Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus is responsible for containing 200 tons of radioactive chorium, 30 tons of highly contaminated dust and 16 tons of uranium and plutonium.

Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus

The cement and steel sarcophagus that protects the world from Chernobyl radiation since November 1986, seven months after the explosion, is being dismantled after it was discovered that it could collapse at any time.

Experts warned that there is a “very high” probability that 400,000 cubic meters of concrete and 7,200 tons of steel will collapse.

The Ukrainian entity responsible for containing the radiation from the old power plant signed a USD 78 million contract to solve the problem by 2023. To this end, it has hired a construction company to undo the work of 600,000 Soviet workers who began to build the original dome less than two months after the disaster.

A new 36,000-ton Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus, which cost about USD 1,692 million and nine years to build, will replace the original structure for the next 100 years.

Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus

The Chernobyl explosion on April 26, 1986, released 100 times more radiation than Hiroshima and Nagasaki together.

The deconstruction of the original sarcophagus will be more complex than that of other structures. The project will involve strengthening sections of that one, to help maintain its overall stability, while eliminating others.

The workers behind the effort must be assisted by robotic cranes. Debris from the sarcophagus will be decontaminated and then recycled or destroyed as appropriate.

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“This is the next logical step in the work we have been doing for the past 12 years,” said Serhii Kalashnyk, CEO of SSE Chernobyl NPP, the company that manages the plant, in a written statement. “The contractor has to disassemble the shelter and reinforce it simultaneously since the removal of each element will increase the risk of its collapse, which would release large amounts of radioactive materials.”

Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus

The original Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus contained 200 tons of radioactive chorium, 30 tons of highly contaminated dust and 16 tons of uranium and plutonium. In 1996, supervisors said it had deteriorated and that its restoration would be impossible.

The new safe Chernobyl nuclear sarcophagus, a complex work aimed at replacing the original, was inaugurated in 2016 as the largest mobile structure built to date in the world. In November of that year, the half-cylinder-shaped structure was placed using a sophisticated rail system on the original sarcophagus. That means that if the original structure collapses during its deconstruction, the radioactive particles of reactor 4 will continue to be contained.

Source: Business Insider

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