File this one under news that reached me 2 weeks after the fact, in late November of 2016, the Shelter Object, a massive arch intended to seal the remains of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Reactor 4 was successfully moved over the structure with the intent of forever sealing the damaged reactor and its deadly nuclear fuel remnants, while also allowing deconstruction of the hastily build “sarcophagus” structure which had covered the damaged reactor for the past 30 years.
This is a bittersweet thing for me to see, as I do have a fondness for Chernobyl, if that makes sense – there was always a horrific beauty to the old, rusting remnants of that hastily built containment structure, but all the while I’ve been fully aware that, if it were to fail, there was a high chance that more radioactive dust would be released into the atmosphere, causing untold possible problems somewhere nearby, or, if the winds were right, miles upon miles away.
The original shelter was designed to protect the damaged reactor remains over the short term, but no long term structure was ever built to seal up the reactor. When it rained, water poured into the sarcophagus, right onto the damaged reactor core – birds nested among the steel beams, and all it really took would have been the failure of one rusted bolt to bring it all down. Even a heavy snowfall could have been enough weight to bring the whole thing down. Thankfully nothing of the sort ever happened, but this is only the beginning. Into 2017 and later, work will begin within the Shelter Object to dismantle the sarcophagus, as well as the reactor 4 building itself, in so far as is actually possible. with an eventual goal of completely sealing the radioactive remains of Chernobyl Reactor 4 forever.
I hate that I will never get to see Reactor 4 with my own eyes, but at the same time, I know this is what needs to be done, and am happy to know that finally, after years of delays, the object is not only built, but in place over one of the worst nuclear disaster sites in history.
Below are two videos, one of which discusses the object in some detail, while the other shows the movement of it over the reactor.