Touring The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Site In 2010
In building the sarcophagus, robots were pushing debris off the roof and onto the ground where more robots would then bury the material. However, the radioactive material ended up interfering with the robots so Russian soldiers and civilians with handmade lead suits had to go up to the roof for just seconds at a time to push the radioactive material off the roof by hand. Over 200,000 liquidators engaged in this work and other work near Chernobyl are now classified as disabled and more than 20,000 of them are dead. Beyond many attributable deaths not going towards the official death toll, those that survived in their military records would also have their actual radiation exposure written down compared to what they were actually exposed to within the Zone of Alienation.
For many years now, the design of the New Safe Confinement has been worked out and construction has begun, but delays have plagued the project with this confinement structuring amounting to cost more than $1 billion USD. The New Safe Confinement is designed to last at least for the next 100 years, but because of the latest construction delays, it will not be complete for at least another three years. This new structure is composed largely of steel and is being constructed a distance away from Reactor #4. Upon completion, the New Safe Confinement will be pulled into place over the nuclear reactor to prevent its workers from being exposed to too much radiation during the construction process. Once that is complete, unsafe parts of the existing structure will eventually be dismantled.
Also built within the Exclusion Zone as part of the nuclear recovery efforts is a nuclear waste storage site, known as the Vektor Radioactive Waste Storage Complex. This facility is designed to safely house the spent nuclear material from Chernobyl and includes retrieval and processing facilities. Around the Chernobyl nuclear complex, there are these new buildings plus a few others (like the bright blue decontamination building shown in a few photographs) that have been built in recent years.
Within the exclusion zone are several hundred burial sites for vehicles, fire trucks, and other equipment that was contaminated by the Chernobyl accident. Combating the fire within Reactor #4 at Chernobyl took some two weeks to finally put out. Mass amounts of lead, sand, Boric acid, and clay were dropped onto the reactor via helicopters in attempts to extinguish the burning graphite. Many of these helicopters used in this containment process are still resting and buried throughout the exclusion zone. Unfortunately the most well known of these burial sites is no longer allowed for visiting by the Ukrainian government.