Chernobyl nuclear reactor to get new protective confinement

Kiev, Nov 11 (IANS) Ukraine will cover the destroyed Chernobyl reactor No.4 with a new protective confinement — the Arch, in the near future, a minister announced on Thursday.

“The construction of the Arch is ending. We will begin moving the safe confinement over the damaged unit in the coming days,” Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak wrote on Facebook.

He said the works on covering the unit with the sarcophagus are due to be completed by November 29, Xinhua news agency reported.

The arch-shaped 109-meter-tall and 250-meter-wide metal sarcophagus will help to prevent the leakage of radiation from the reactor, which was destroyed by the explosions at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 30 years ago.

The new protective cover will replace the old Chernobyl shelter to transform the nuclear power plant into an environmentally safe facility.

The practical stage of construction of the Arch, costing about $1.6 billion, started in 2012. The project was funded by more than 40 countries and international organisations.

The Chernobyl disaster, one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history, happened on April 26, 1986, when a series of explosions ripped through the plant located 110 km north of Kiev.

The blasts resulted in the demolition of the No.4 reactor and the spread of radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other European countries.