Chernobyl Reactor Shield's Move Completed

A ceremony in Chernobyl on Nov. 29 marked the successful conclusion of the sliding operation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced.

A massive steel dome encasing the destroyed reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine has been successfully moved into place, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development reported Nov. 29. EBRD is the administrator of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and is managing the project to make the site safe, and it has been working to construct and then move into position the New Safe Confinement dome for several years.

A steam explosion in 1986 destroyed reactor 4, killing two operators initially and 28 others soon afterward. EBRD announced on its website that a ceremony in Chernobyl on Nov. 29 marked the successful conclusion of the sliding operation, and the international effort to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe and secure state by November 2017 was on target.

The dome was moved 327 meters from its assembly point to its final resting place. "The equipment in the New Safe Confinement will now be connected to the new technological building which will serve as a control room for future operations inside the arch. The New Safe Confinement will be sealed off from the environment hermetically. Finally, after intensive testing of all equipment and commissioning, handover of the New Safe Confinement to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant administration is expected in November 2017," EBRD reported.

The New Safe Confinement structure weighs about 64 million pounds. At a point early in its construction, more than 40 countries had contributed to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which planned to spend about $2 billion in support of the Shelter Implementation Plan, about two-thirds of it being on the New Safe Confinement, EBRD reported then.

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