New footage from inside Chernobyl’s new safe confinement (NSC) structure has been released, showing the scale of the operation to dismantle the stricken reactor.
Work is now underway to install equipment and prepare for commissioning of the structure. When complete a robotic arm, inside the arch, will take apart the reactor and prepare it for disposal - all operated from a control room a safe distance away.
The giant reinforced concrete sarcophagus was built to confine nuclear radiation coming from the reactor as it is dismantled. It was built 300m away from the plant by a joint venture comprising Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues Travaux Publics.
In November last year, it was slid into place in an operation which took 40 hours, spread over five days.
Air tight seals between the arch and the reactor are now being installed. To prevent corrosion of the enclosure, the air between the inner and outer walls has been dried and subjected to mild pressure. This involved processing over 1M.m3 of air.
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic nuclear incident. After the fatal explosion, the large sarcophagus structure was erected over the damaged reactor in extremely hazardous conditions, but this was limited to a 30 year life span. The plant was evacuated due to nuclear contamination and a 30km exclusion zone was declared, which remains to this day.