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Description of the New Safe Confinement over the Shelter object
(Necessity of its creation, functions and arrangement
Existing Shelter object is a temporary facility. Its main function is providing of safe isolation of destroyed reactor's radioactive materials from environment. Nowadays the protective cover provides its functions, but designing of the object do not allow management with radioactively contaminated materials and substances with nuclear fuel. Extraction of these materials from the destroyed reactor and their consequent ecologically safe burial is main strategic task of the Shelter transformation into an ecologically safe system. The Shelter could be considered as safe system only with providing of extraction and safe burial of all radioactive waste.
Works on selection and justification of a new protective cover over the Shelter is being carried out for more than ten years. Apart form environment protection, the new construction have to provide carrying out of partial dismantling of the Shelter's accidental and unstable constructions. Besides, the new construction must have technical facilities and equipment to provide safe works of extraction and treatment of radioactive and fuel containing materials.
It is decided, that the protective construction will be created in a shape of an arch. In the judgment of some specialists, this decision is the most optimal for the new protective cover creation. For this new construction, the specialists use the term "confinement". Thus, the new protective construction is being called the New Safe Confinement.
It is necessary to note, that optimality of the arch-shape construction is being discussed intensively between specialists. There are different points of view. In this report I will not provide arguments of any specialists, I am mentioning only, that the discussion exists.
What are necessity and reasonability of the Confinement?
The necessity of a new protective cover over the Shelter is substantiated with the investigations, showing the facts that only the part of the Shelter's constructions could be stabilized for the term of fifteen years and it is not possible to stabilize the all bearing structures. Hence, the Shelter's transformation into an ecologically safe system is possible only by using additional protective cover. Under this protection cover only it is necessary to carry out the subsequent works on the elimination of the Shelter collapse danger. Prevention of the Shelter destruction is possible only by using the removing of its danger structures.
Besides, an additional protective cover is necessary to protect the environment from radioactive releases that will be born during extraction of radioactive and fuel containing materials from the destroyed reactor.
Thus, a safe confinement creation is creation of additional barriers for protection of the environment and population. Also confinement will assist with extraction of fuel containing materials and radioactive waste from the Shelter.
What is functionality of the new cover?
The confinement's main function is limitation of the Shelter's radioactive substances spreading. This condition must be implemented during normal conditions of the confinement exploitation as well as during possible accident (the Shelter destruction). Project term of the new construction is one hundred years.
The confinement will provide isolation of the Shelter from rainwater and snow slush incoming. It also will provide groundwater protection from the destroyed reactor's radioactive substances.
What is a danger of the Arch creation?
As for now, the Shelter is opened source of ionizing radiation which contains nuclear materials. The object will be danger till the time when the materials are inside without order and control.
The confinement erection will be carried out in immediate proximity to the Shelter; it means that the erection will be performed in conditions of increased nuclear and radiation danger. Thus it will take place in proximity to and inside of sources of radioactive irradiation sources as well as under conditions of high concentration of radioactive aerosol that contains courses of alpha and beta irradiators. In turn it requires implementation of remote technologies and obligatory using of the personnel's individual protective means.
What is dimension of the new protective cover?
Construction that will cover the Shelter has enormous dimension. It is hard to imagine the view of an arch that covers the Shelter, the new technological building (for radioactive materials treatment) and other buildings that will provide safe confinement exploitation for one hundred years.
Nowadays dimension of the Confinement is known only at preliminary level. Real size of the Arch will be known after completion of detailed design. At the end of 2007 consortium NOVARKA starts development of the design.
According to preliminary data, the Confinement dimension is the following:
One of the main peculiarities of the Arch is the fact that according to design, the Arch will be assembled at the 180 meters distance. It will allow decreasing irradiation of the personnel that will build the Arch. Special site will be prepared for construction. After completion of the Arch assembling on the special site, it will be slid to the existing Shelter by using special mechanisms. The Process of the Arch assembling and sliding is shown at the images below.
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