Freitag, 24. September 2010

A Sarcophagus for Chernobyl?

Nearly 25 years after the Chernobyl Incident, a French consortium "Novarka" has started working this week to complete a second sarcophagus for the reactor block IV that exploded in April 1986. "Novarka" founded in 2007 for the sole purpose of constructing a mobile sarcophagus is a French-German Joint Venture that was formed mainly out of "Vinci-Group", "Nukem", "Bouyges" and "Hochtief". Most of those actors are famous in the nuclear business: Hochtief built a number of German reactors in the 60s and 70s. Nukem, which actually was one of the first German firms to dispose nuclear waste had its authorisations to dispose nuclear waste removed by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, in 1986 and consecutively in 1987 for exceeding Cobalt-60, Plutonium and Caesium-135 norms. Nukem was taken over by a Russian group in 2007.

After knowing now that with "Novarka" everything is in safe-hands (Beware: Irony!), let's return to the sarcophagus, The Sacrophagus will be placed on rails so it can be placed over the reactor. Goal is to have a waterproof shelter to cover the reactor block, and stop water from penetrating into the reactor core. If everything goes by plan, the greatest movable structure in the world (270m X 150m X 100m) will be achieved in late 2013.

However many questions remain: The "Novarka" sarcophagus will not allow to stop sporadic radiation to exit the reactor. Still of a mystery to scientists, radiation sometimes seems to escape the reactor block even tough all radioactive material had been removed. The radioactive heritage of Chernobyl needs not a simple sarcophagus. Thryoid cancers, down syndrom, leukemia and deformations are skyrocketting. The region needs much more than a simple roof to cover up, but needs urgent recovery plans. A new statistic published in "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)" by Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexey V. Nesterenko, and Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger that takes into account figures from 5000 existing studies around the globe, fixes a new horrifying death toll of 986 000 and counting...

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