Workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine have finished covering the damaged reactor. It was among the world’s most ambitious engineering projects to install the huge shelter in a shape of half cylinder over the residues of damaged reactor. The massive structure was installed on top of reactor No. 2 of nuclear power plant which closed a “nuclear wound”, which is the result of world’s worst nuclear accident.
The shelter removed a no. of risks and fears that prevailed since the accident, which included a collapse of the sarcophagus, occurrence of new nuclear reaction inside the structure, and tons of uranium still existing at the disaster site. There was also a risk of seeping out of radioactive liquids from the disaster and entering into the water supply as the sarcophagus was not watertight.
According to the European Reconstruction & Development Bank, the new shelter of damaged reactor costs nearly 1.5 billion euros, and its size is 843 ft. wide and 354 ft. tall. This construction needed around ten thousand workers and more than 40 governments gave funds to it. Now, the workers will start dismantling the unstable older parts of the sarcophagus, which is the original cover of the damaged reactor.
Thirty years back, a sudden power jolt ruined the Unit 4 of Chernobyl nuclear power plant. After this explosion and fire, huge amounts of radioactive elements were released into the environments, stimulating the evacuation of several no. of people. Workers on-board helicopters discharged sand on the remnants of the damaged reactor to stop the fire and emissions of radiation. They also poured boron to stop further nuclear reactions and finally managed to completely cover the exploded area with a temporary concrete structure called sarcophagus. A pine forest was also cut down and buried by the authorities and the area near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was closed.
Thousands of people who evacuated after this incident never returned but gradually that area was gradually inhabited by wildlife. However, radiations remains a threat for these animals. Moreover, the impact of this nuclear disaster on health also remains a prime concern as a significant rise in thyroid cancer cases was seen after radiation exposure in childhood.
Summary: Chernobyl nuclear power plant reactor was covered with airtight structure after years of work to prevent radiation leaks.