KIEV, Ukraine – Twenty-two years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, work is under way on a colossal new shelter to cover the ruins and deadly radioactive contents of the exploded Soviet-era power plant.
For years, the original iron and concrete shelter that was hastily constructed over the reactor has been leaking radiation, cracking and threatening to collapse. The new one, an arch of steel, would be big enough to contain the Statue of Liberty.
Once completed, Chernobyl will be safe, said Vince Novak, nuclear safety director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which manages the $505 million project.
The new shelter is part of a broader $1.4 billion effort financed by international donors that began in 1997 and includes shoring up the current shelter, monitoring radiation and training experts.