Chernobyl New Safe Confinement
New Safe Confinement is the biggest man-made movable construction in the world. It is 108 m high, 162 m long and 257 m wide.
The accident that happened on April, 26 destroyed the unit 4 of Chernobyl nuclear power plant almost completely. The active zone of the reactor was damaged so that the radioactive particles and gases were blown off by the wind, thus, contaminating the surroundings and the world in general. After the fire in the unit was stopped, the liquidators had to invent the method to protect the environment from the radiation. The level was so high there that it was not possible to clean up the reactor from the fuel and to store it in special site.
In May, 1986, the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Sarcophagus began. The structure was made of steel and concrete and was finished in November, the same year as the beginning of the construction. The idea was to have it there for the next 30 years. This time would be taken for inventing new method of protection and also removal of the spent fuel. However, less than in 15 years, it became clear that Chernobyl Sarcophagus wouldn’t stand much longer. Steel was damaged by corrosion and the concrete by radiation. The structure had a lot of cracks and holes, which meant that the radiation goes outside and continues to contaminate the land.
In August, 2007, Chernobyl nuclear power plant signed a contract with French consortium NOVARKA. The project included development of the best technology taking into account the specifics of the place and the construction itself. Work began in 2012. Construction site was 200 meters away from the reactor; it helped to reduce the exposure of radiation on the workers. After four years, New Safe Confinement (also called Chernobyl Containment Shield) was finished and had to be moved in order to cover the reactor and Chernobyl old Sarcophagus. It took two weeks to move Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. Being 108 m high, 162 m long and 257 m wide, it is considered to be the biggest manmade movable construction on the Earth.
650,000 screws were used in the construction of the New Safe Confinement.
Inside Chernobyl Sarcophagus, there are still melted masses and spent fuel which will remain radioactive for thousands years. The idea of the NSC is not just to cover the first shelter. The aim is to remove the fuel and to dismantle Chernobyl Sarcophagus; today there are robots and platforms installed, so that the people will not have to go inside, but to control the work remotely.
Chernobyl Sarcophagus interior was accessible only for scientists and photographers that were not able to be there longer than a couple of minutes. The visitors are allowed to approach the NSC on a 200 meters distance.
The amount of steel which was used to build the New Safe Confinement is equal to the amount of steel needed to build the Eiffel Tower. Together with auxiliary equipment, the NFC weights 36,000 tons.