A ceremony at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today, marked the successful completion of the sliding operation, a key milestone before the finalisation of the international programme to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe and secure state by 2019.
The New Safe Confinement (NSC) was moved a total distance of 327 metres from its assembly point to its final resting place, completely enclosing a previous makeshift shelter that was hastily assembled immediately after the 1986 accident.
The equipment in the New Safe Confinement will now be connected to the newly constructed technological (TEC) building, which will serve as control room for future dismantling operations inside the arch. The New Safe Confinement will be sealed from the environment hermetically, and then following intensive testing and commissioning of equipment, handover of the New Safe Confinement to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant administration (ChNPP) is expected in November 2017, later revised to 2019: (officially achieved 10 July 2019).
Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, commented: “We welcome this milestone in the process of the transformation of Chernobyl as a symbol of what we can achieve jointly with strong, determined and long-term commitment. We applaud our Ukrainian partners and the contractor and we thank all donors to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund whose contributions have made today’s success possible. The spirit of cooperation gives us confidence that the project will be completed on time and within budget a year from now.”
Novarka project director Nicolas Caille said: “We are very proud to have been able to actively contribute to meeting this one-of-a-kind technological challenge. The New Safe Confi nement in Chernobyl is a feat of engineering that will ensure optimal safety conditions for the Ukrainian people for the next 100 years. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the achievement of the teams of the Novarka joint venture formed by major French groups VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction.”
Igor Gramotkin, Director-General of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, said: “We were not building this arch for ourselves. We were building it for our children, for our grandchildren and for our great-grandchildren. This is our contribution to the future, in line with our responsibility for those who will come after us.”
The Chernobyl arch is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 metres, a length of 162 metres, a height of 108 metres and a total weight of 36,000 tonnes equipped. It will make the accident site safe and with a lifetime of 100 years allow for the eventual dismantling of the ageing makeshift shelter from 1986 and the management of the radioactive waste.
The structure was built by Novarka, a consortium of the French construction firms VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction. Works started on the base in 2010 with the first sections of the arch being assembled beginning of 2012.
With a cost of €1.5 billion the giant structure is the most prominent element of the Shelter Implementation Plan for Chernobyl, which involved more than 300 projects and activities. The €2.1 billion programme is financed by the Chernobyl Shelter Fund. Established in 1997, the Fund has received more than € 1.5 billion from 45 donors to date. The EBRD manages the Fund and is the largest contributor to the New Safe Confinement project.
Anthony James Addington–Barker – Associate Director Nuclear Safety Projects, Chernobyl (MC). With my colleague Colin Ross, we are very proud to have played a part in this amazing and unique nuclear project. To have helped make safe the destroyed reactor 4 and its surrounding Object Shelter at Chernobyl, which will soon complete, and secure the environment for future generations to come.