On 26th April 1986, the town of Chernobyl was flung into the history books when the town’s nuclear reactor went into meltdown.
Following the meltdown a sarcophagus was constructed from concrete and steel to prevent further radioactive contamination, but this was at best a temporary solution.
What many people tend to forget about Chernobyl is that the nuclear material is still within reactor number four and according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) the sarcophagus risked “imminent collapse” in the 90’s.
For this reason the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure has been in the works since 2010. The structure stretches is 162m long, 257m wide and stretches 108m into the heavens. Formed from a lattice of steel tubes and two concrete support beams the NSC is rather weighty clocking in at 36 000 tons.
Because the reactor is still very much radioactive, the NSC had to be built away from the reactor and then slowly moved into place via a set of tracks that run parallel to the sarcophagus built in 1986. This makes the NSC the largest mobile metal structure on Earth according to a report by Ars Technica.
Built to last
The NSC’s size is mightily impressive but the entire structure has been built to withstand, well, anything you can throw at it.
The EBRD says,”It is strong enough to withstand a tornado and its sophisticated ventilation system eliminates the risk of corrosion, ensuring that there is no need to replace the coating and expose workers to radiation during the structure’s lifetime.”
As a matter of interest, the NSC’s lifetime is pegged at a minimum of 100 years.
With the structure now in place construction on the NSC will continue throughout 2017 to make the structure airtight. You can check out a video of the NSC being moved into place in the video below.[Source – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development]