The Shelter Project

In the late 90's, the Sarcophagus covering the hazardous Reactor 4 began to collapse, and radioactive dust started to leak out through the cracks in the walls. By 1997, the amount of radioactive dust inside the Sarcophagus was measured to 34 tons, and since then, due to the decaying of the active fuel, the amount has increased by several tons per year. Today we may be looking at maybe even more than the double of those 34 tons, and the cracks in the steel and cconcrete construction are even bigger.

The image is from http://www.olek.co.th
It doesn't take a genius to figure out what would happen if the Sarcophagus would collapse, and another big threat is the reactor lid. - 2000 tons were launched at the first explosion, and as it fell down again, it was misaligned (see picture). As also the reactor construction itself decays, it's only a matter of time before it collapses and when the reactor lid falls down, it will cause an enormous amount of radioactive dust to whirl up and get caught by the winds, which would mean contamination of large areas all over again.

In December 1997, the Chernobyl Shelter fund was set up as a collaborative project between Ukraine, Europe and the United Stated in order to finance the construction of the Shelter that will cover the Sarcophagus. This was then estimated to cost €10.5 million, but today the fundings need to be recalculated to estimatedly €1.54 billion. You may read more about the original Shelter funding plans at IAEA's website. Bear in mind that it's an old document. The original intents were for the Shelter to be finished by 2006, but as we clearly can see, that didn't happen. In 2007, the French company Novarka was assigned to build the "2nd Sarcophagus", and how their plans are still supposed to proceed, you can see by watching the video below.
 Today I received an e-mail from mr. Anton Usov, the Ukrainian Principal Adviser of EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) who states that the fund now has collected €600 million and that this amount is sufficient to proceed with the planned engineering work.
"Preparing the New Safe Confinement works is on-going and the first steel elements will be assembled on the site in autumn 2011"
 says Usov. 

After having watched this animated, almost 10 minutes long movie - what do you urban explorers say? "Don't do it, there will be no more Reactor 4 to take pictures of!"? I certainly hope not. The Shelter will of course remove the all too familiar view of the blown off reactor tube, but would you prefer the above mentioned risks?

The new "deadline" for the Shelter is 2015, but optimists claim that this 2nd Sarcophagus might be finished already by 2013.


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