Chernobyl container

18 March 2008

Novarka a 50:50 consortium of Vinci and Bouygues has won the € 432 million (US$ 605 million) contract to build a new containing building around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

Novarka will build a steel shield 105 m high, 150 m long, with a 257 m span to cover the existing containment structure, or sarcophagus, which stands over the wreckage of the reactor and radioactive fuel that remain following the infamous explosion in 1986. this will weigh about 18000 tonnes, more than twice the weight of the Eiffel tower

Novarka said work on the sarcophagus, which is designed to last a century, should start in October with the target of completion in March 2012. this includes 17 months of design work. The structure will be assembled to the west of the site, in a specially developed zone some distance from the damaged reactor. It will then be slid into place over the existing sarcophagus.

Commenting on the deal, Vinci chairman Yves-Thibault de Silguy said that by the end of the sarcophagus’ lifespan, “Chernobyl will not exist anymore. The end goal of the shield is to allow (Chernobyl's) total dismantling.”

On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which is situated 100 km north of the Ukraine capital Kiev, exploded. Contamination spread over some of the then-Soviet republic countries, as well as parts of Western Europe.


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