Chernobyl’s infamous Reactor 4 on Tuesday was sealed inside a giant sarcophagus that officials hope will protect Ukraine and the world for the next 100 years from the radioactive remains of the world’s worst-ever nuclear accident.
The structure stretches almost two football fields in length and weighs 3.5 times the Eiffel Tower. Because of the high radiation levels in the old deteriorating Soviet-era sarcophagus, the new structure had to be built nearby and rolled over the accident site.
Ukrainian nuclear officials say the new structure will give the world time to come up with a solution on what to do with the remaining radioactive materials, which are expected to remain dangerously lethal for the next 3,000 years.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, quoted by The Guardian website, spoke near the site as the new structure rolled into place. He praised those who did the work to create this structure and the one it is replacing.
“It was designed to last for 30 years to protect Kiev, Ukraine and the whole world from nuclear contamination. Thirty years later, we are present here just 100 meters away from Reactor No 4 and we can say that this new historical construction has been completed.”
It will still be another year, officials say, before the new structure will be sealed in place. Then the search for a permanent solution can begin. The site is expected to be lethal until the 50th Century.