April 26th, 2014, marks the 28th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion of the 4th reactor at the Chernobyl power plant, the worst nuclear plant accident in history in terms of cost and resulting deaths.
31 people died during the accident itself, and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for.
The communities of Belarus, Western Russian and Ukraine continue to live with the Chernobyl awful legacy. The critical economic conditions of these countries make difficult to afford basic medical treatments for the affected population.
A massive steel and reinforced concrete structure covering the fourth nuclear reactor building of the Plant was designed and completed to limit radioactive contamination of the environment. It was conceived to last approximately for 30 years and first years of construction of new confinement were spent on reinforcement of old shelter.
In 1996 it was deemed impossible to repair the inside of the sarcophagus due to the radiation levels. A decision to replace the sarcophagus with the New Safe Confinement (NSC or New Shelter) was taken, and a project to reconstruct the enclosure is under way.
The NSC is also known as the Arch for Chernobyl due its metal shell shaped as a gigantic arch. designed and built by the French consortium Novarka with 50/50 partners Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues Travaux Publics and is expected to be completed in 2015 with the aim of preventing the reactor from leaking radioactive material into the environment.
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Descendants – The shadow of Chernobyl
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