Chernobyl sarcophagus reaches milestone

By Chris Sleight01 December 2014

Novarka, a 50-50 joint venture between Vinci and Bouygues, has completed jacking work on the new confinement structure for the No.4 reactor at the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The reactor went into meltdown on April 26, 1986 and was subsequently encased in a concrete sarcophagus.

The new structure comprises two semi-arches, each of which has undergone three jacking operations since November 2012. This followed remediation work, excavation and construction of foundations at the assembly area located adjacent to the power plant’s No 4 reactor.

The next stage of construction will involve connecting the two halves of the confinement structure together, installing ventilation, power supply and control-command systems and then pushing the confinement structure over the current sarcophagus. Final placement of the structure is planned for spring 2017.

Following that, the side walls of the arch will be installed, and other work will be undertaken on the structure to isolate the reactor from the outside environment. This is scheduled for November 2017, and completion of the new structure will then allow the existing No 4 reactor sarcophagus to be dismantled.

The project is being financed by the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) involving 43 donor governments and organisations. The budget to remediate the Chernobyl site is € 1.5 billion.

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