C H E R N O B Y L - 2 0 1 2
Chernobyl Reactor #4, seen to the left of the red and white tower, famously blew it's top in 1986. This photo, taken on April 27, 2012, occurred one day after a new milestone for this disaster. Because, one day earlier, the construction phase of the "New Safe Confinement" unit began. (The planning and creating new project infrastructure phase had been ongoing for five years now). The "New Safe Confinement" is being built a few hundred meters (yards, for the metrically challenged) from Chernobyl #4's current sarcophagus, and when it is completed in 2015, will be moved into place on specially laid tracks and will cover the existing sarcophagus. Once in place, the existing sarcophagus will be dismantled.
The NSC design is an arch-shaped steel structure with an internal height of 92.5 metres (303.5 ft), and a 12-metre (39.4 ft) distance between the centers of the upper and lower arch chords. The internal span of the arch is to be 245 metres (803.8 ft), and the external span is to be 270 metres (885.8 ft). The dimensions of the arch were determined based upon the need to operate equipment inside the new shelter and decommission the existing shelter. The overall length of the structure is 150 metres (492.1 ft), consisting of 13 arches assembled 12.5 metres (41 ft) apart to form 12 bays. The ends of the structure will be sealed by vertical walls assembled around, but not supported by, the existing structures of the reactor building.