End walls in place for Chernobyl cover

07 October 2016

Construction has been completed of the dividing walls between units 3 and 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, against which the New Safe Confinement (NSC) over unit 4 will be placed. Completion of the new cover is scheduled for November 2017.

Chernobyl NSC front wall - 460 (ChNPP)
Construction of the NSC end wall (Image: ChNPP)

Some 9600 cubic meters of concrete and 1500 tonnes of reinforcing steel rebar were used in the construction of the end walls, deputy project and program manager Viktor Popovskyi said in a 5 October statement.

The scope of work included the reinforcement and sealing of existing structures of units 3 and 4 – upon which the arch end walls will be abutted – as well as the design and construction of new dividing walls within existing structures. Preparation work of the existing surfaces has been carried out for installation and attachment of sealing anchors.

The Chernobyl plant said before construction of the dividing walls could begin, "tens of tonnes of technological equipment and metal structures were dismantled, as well as hundreds of cubic meters of concrete". It noted that the project to build the walls was complicated by the actual conditions at the site varying from the initial design solutions, as well as by the "severe radiation situation and high dose rates" for workers. However, construction of the end walls has been completed ahead of schedule.

Chernobyl New Safe Confinement
An artist's impression of how the new shelter will look

The work has been carried out by Ukrainian companies JSC Kievmetrostroy, PJSC Ukrenergomontazh, Ukrainian State Building Corporation "Ukrbud" and OOO SK Ukrstroymontazh under a $40 million contract awarded in December 2014.

Dismantling of the heavy lift crane used in the construction of the walls and the runways on which it moves will be completed by 28 October, the plant said. The site will then be handed over in full to the Novarka consortium - led by the French construction companies Bouygues and Vinci - building the NSC.

Installation of the arch started in February 2012. The NSC will eventually rise to a height of 110 metres, will be 165 metres long, have a span of 260 metres and a lifetime of a minimum of 100 years. The arch-shaped structure will weigh more than 30,000 tonnes. It has been built in two halves, which were joined together in July 2015.

When completed, the NSC will prevent the release of contaminated material from the present shelter and at the same time protect the structure from external impacts such as extreme weather.

Construction of the NSC is being financed via the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as mandated by the G7 and on behalf of the contributors to the fund.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News