April 18, 2006

2005 Report: Safety State of the (Chernobyl) Sarcophagus

There is a new 2005 "Safety State of the Sarcophagus" report available online (9.7Mb PDF) from [Gesellschaft für Anlagen und Reaktorsicherheit] GRS/IRSN [Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucleaire], the French-German Initiative for Chernobyl.

The free 70-page color booklet contains narrative in French, German, English and Russian; along with photos of the damaged reactor and the surrounding area, detailed accounts of the damage and radiation released in the 1986 accident, and current plans for abating and controlling the deterioration of the current "shell" surrounding Reactor 4.

What's new and quite interesting here are recent ArcView GIS [Geographic Information System] and computer-generated 3D maps of the site, many which include environmental radiation level isosurfaces (example from the GRS/IRSN 2005 report shown).

A computer rendering of Chernobyl Shelter 2, shown here, depicts the proposed new external containment structure for the hastily-constructed 1986 sarcophagus, now severely deteriorated by harsh weather and intense radiation.

According to the SIP [Shelter Implementation Plan], the goal of building the aluminum semicircular housing is "to safely confine the radioactive materials for at least 100 years and...to allow their retrieval from inside if need be as well as the dismantling of the old structure."

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