The mess of Chernobyl reactor number four will finally be enclosed using 36,000 tonnes of shelter measuring 354 ft high and 843 ft wide. The mega structure will be put into place on Monday and aims to seal the nuclear plant for at least the next 100 years.
The process of sealing is estimated to take up to five days and 224 hydraulic jacks, moving about two 60 cm rails. After the arch is sealed, the equipment will then look to take down the concrete tomb surrounding the explosion site.
Novarka, which is a French team, used its expertise to build the massive arch using the 1.7 billion Euros aid by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, while the final cost is estimated to be at over 2 billion Euros.
This project was selected to be used after a worldwide competition held by the Ukrainian government back in 1992 to suggest replacement proposals of the trusted but old confinement system, sarcophagus, which was damaged after the disaster in 1986.
And although the sarcophagus, constructed between May and November 1986, was still adequate in confining the radioactive substances at reactor unit 4, it was found to be under extreme duress and attacked by high radiation, which meant it needed to be replaced urgently.
The current arch off site and sliding design was proposed by the Design Group Partnership of Manchester, United Kingdom, which meant that the arch would be slid over the pre-existing sarcophagus. And while no overall winner of the 1992 competition was announced, this arch building was the generally agreed upon solution.
Additionally, a 75,000 cubic meter building called the Vektor Radioactive Waste Storage Facility is also being built by German nuclear decommissioning company near the Chernobyl site, with the purpose of holding high-level waste and intermediate waste storage.
Although The New Safe Confinement project is over ten years late, it is a relief that the nightmare finally is coming to an end.