Chernobyl to get a new cover
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.