Visit of Odessa Center for Nonproliferation Employees to the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone

To improve the competence of the Odessa Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation (OdCNP) staff on matters related to the situation around the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, the main issues and areas of work performed in the exclusion zone, on 5 June 2016 a visit to the exclusion zone and zone of unconditional (obligatory) resettlement was organized.

During the trip, the delegation visited:

  • The Memorial to heroes of Chornobyl (Chornobyl NPP APC);
  • The bypass channel;
  • The observation deck of "Shelter" object;
  • Visiting of Pripyat: Hotel "Polesie", the stadium, the school, the swimming pool, the hospital, the main square of the city;
  • "Chornobyl-2" object;
  • Visiting of Chornobyl: "To those who saved the world" memorial, St. Illiya`s church, the Park of Glory.

The Observation Deck of "Shelter" Object

The bulk of the works that were conducted to eliminate the accidents and minimize the emission of radionuclides into the environment, consisted in the construction of concrete protective shell over the damaged reactor of Chornobyl NPP. The protective shell, called "Shelter" was created in a very short period of time – six months. The grandeur of constructor`s thought, which was embodied in the protective structure, can be described in several examples. Thus, for the construction of "Shelter" cranes with a maximum lifting capacity at the time – 600 tons were used. To create the overlap over the destroyed reactor a unique metal beam was remotely (!) set. The length of this element of the future construction of "Shelter" was 70 meters, its height was 6 meters and its weight reached 147 tons. Due to its size it was called "Mammoth." Upon the completion of works on the construction of "Shelter" emission of radionuclides into environment decreased significantly.

The new Chornobyl sarcophagus – a new "Shelter" has the form of an arch and will be erected over the destroyed reactor of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The sarcophagus built over the fourth reactor that exploded is gradually being destroyed. The danger in the event of collapse is largely determined by how much radioactive material is inside. According to official data, this figure reaches 95% of the amount that was there at the time of the accident. If this assessment is correct, the shelter destruction can lead to extremely large emissions. In March 2004 the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced a tender for the design, construction and commissioning of a new sarcophagus for Chornobyl. NOVARKA company, a joint venture of the French company Vinci Construction Grands Projets and BOUYGUES, was recognized the winner of the tender in August 2007. It is planned to build a so-called "Arch", which will cover the current "Shelter". On September 17, 2007 the SSE "Chornobyl NPP" and the French group NOVARKA signed a contract for the construction of a new safe confinement over the Chornobyl "Shelter" object. This setting will "slide over" the old sarcophagus:

"Chornobyl-2" Object

Not far from the Chornobyl nuclear power plant there is a huge metal structure that is visible from Pripyat, the so-called Chornobyl-2. The object is called "Bow" and it had worked just for several years. The construction was completed in 1975. It was the realization of the idea of early (horizon) identification of aircrafts` in the short wavelength range at a distance up to 3000 km. The height of the station near Chornobyl is about 150 meters, the length – 800 meters. The experimental "Chornobyl-2" unit was a top-secret object and all topographic maps of the time marked the place where the radar was situated (between the villages Kopachi and Dibrova) as a "summer camp". After the events of April 26, 1986 the station was frozen and stopped operation due to possible damage to electronic equipment. For a distinctive sound while on air, which seemed as constant knocking, the object was called the Russian Woodpecker:

We express our gratitude to the State Agency of Ukraine for an Exclusion Zone for the support and organization of the visit of OdCNP staff!