Sealing off a radioactive sarcophagus

28 November 2013Science

Nick Meo, writing for BBC News Magazine:

Massive and glittering in the weak winter sunshine, a half-built arch looms over Chernobyl’s decaying industrial landscape of cooling towers and power lines.

One of the biggest engineering projects in history, it has been likened to a gigantic metal igloo, built to seal off hundreds of tons of nuclear fuel and dust buried inside reactor number four, which in 1986 blew up and burned for 10 days.

Everything about the project is epic: the size, the 1.5bn euro (£1.2bn) cost, the technical problems of working on a radioactive building site.

A fascinating read. The project, now at the half-way point, is already more than a decade behind schedule. Given all the technological advances in the 27 years since the Chernobyl disaster, it’s hard to accept that there isn’t a better solution than a gigantic metal lid. I wonder if a similar solution will be used in Fukushima as well?