Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Chernobyl to get a new cover

By Aussiegirl

The following news from
a news site in Moscow:

Work has begun to repair the sarcophagus that was hastily built in 1986 to contain the radioactive debris of Chernobyl's No. 4 reactor, after experts warned it was so old it could collapse at any minute.

Workers will only be able to spend a few minutes at a time at the site, which is still spewing radiation, so they will have to plan out each step of the reconstruction in detail, the Vesti news program reported.
Plans to repair the shelter were underway for several years, but it was only recently, with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko elected in December, that the funding was found.

With the inauguration last month of President Yushchenko, a pro-Western former opposition leader, new authorities have taken power in Ukraine who enjoy enormous American and European goodwill. As a result, financial backing for the project came from abroad.

Repair plans include adding a second shelter around the old one. "Shelter 2" is a huge 19,800-ton steel arch designed to be assembled nearby, then slid into place on rails to minimize workers' radiation exposure. The sarcophagus is designed to last at least 100 years, providing improved conditions for further stabilization work and eventual cleanup of radioactive debris isolated inside.


At 2:37 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

Aussiegirl, your item regarding the new sarcophagus, reminded me that I had heard the following on FOX news the other day. I have been wondering how this scrap metal could possibly be "clean." I also have some doubts about only "clean" scrap being brought out to be sold. As I recall, a large number of trucks filled with scrap metal, were diverted for personal profit with the removal of the 9/11 debris.

Chernobyl metal sold for scrap
From correspondents in Kiev

PIECES of metal from the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine, scene of the world's worst civil nuclear disaster in 1986, are to be sold for scrap.

Olexandre Smyshliayev, the director of the public company, Chernobylskaya, which ran the former power station, today said part of the plant would be cut up and sold by weight to help pay for reinforcing the sarcophagus of the damaged reactor.

He was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying all the material to be taken from the site had been tested by the authorities for levels of radiation and had been found to be "clean."

The scrap metal, which will go on sale in March, will come from sections of the plant farthest from the reactor, which is at the heart of the contaminated zone. The director said that no material from the reinforced concrete sarcophagus that surrounds the reactor would be sold.

The sarcophagus is currently threatening to collapse.

Russia could be the biggest customer for the scrap metal as it still operates power stations similar to the one in Chernobyl.

In April 1986, the core of the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl plant exploded and for 10 days spewed radioactive material equivalent to more than 200 Hiroshima bombs into the air, contaminating large swathes of Europe, particularly neighbouring Belarus.

The Soviet government said 31 people were killed on the spot.

According to UN figures, between 15,000 and 30,000 have died since the disaster in 1986 and nearly 6 million people continue to live in contaminated zones.

Chernobyl was finally closed in December 2000 with international financial aid, only part of which has been paid.

The international community has raised more than 720 million euros ($1.19bn) for the construction of a 20,000-tonne steel case to cover the present sarcophagus, which was built in a rush after the accident. That must be completed by 2008.

This story from our news.com.au network [http://www.news.com.au/]
© Herald and Weekly Times


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