Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Chernobyl + 19 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Chernobyl reactor burning at night, shortly after the explosion on April 16th, 1986Nineteen years ago today the fire began...and years later, there's more bad news. From Ukraine online newspaper ForUm:
25 April: Sarcophagus of Chernobyl nuclear power plant is being ruined

Collapse of sarcophagus of Chernobyl nuclear power plant threatens to become a new ecological catastrophe. Lately the technical state of the fourth reactor’s sarcophagus has deteriorated – the walls are cracked, general building’s geometry became deformed, the ceiling has settled. The [20 year] period of guaranteed operation of "Shelter" is going to expire in 2006. Experts warn that collapse of protective contracture can cause more grave consequences than the accident of the year 1986 itself. Meanwhile, it is impossible to give a real estimation now. A new sarcophagus, "Shelter – 2" was projected to neutralize the reactor. The period of sarcophagus operation is meant for hundred years.

Costs for the project was supposed to make 750 million USD, 50 million of which will be given by the Ukrainian government, and coalition of 28 countries will give the rest. Now it is a question of one milliard [billion] USD.
Above, a rare image of Chernobyl's reactor 4 burning, from nighttime aerial video shot in 1986, courtesy of Progetto Humus [Italia: Humus Project statement in English here [PDF]].

Actually, there was a major international consortium set up several years ago to finance building a second, more permanent shelter over the "Sarcophagus" - or 'Ukritye,' literally "shelter" - but the project seems unconscionably delayed, if not stalled altogether. How unfortunately shortsighted. Once again money seems to be the problem. However, if the Sarcophagus does collapse, even partially, there will be another messy (and horrendously expensive) release of toxic radioactive debris for the international community to deal with.
by Mario Petrucci

Even the robots refuse. Down tools. Jerk up
their blocked heads, shiver in invisible hail. Helicopters
spin feet from disaster, caught in that upward cone
of technicide - then ditch elsewhere, spill black running guts.
Not the Firemen. In black rubber gloves and leather boots
they walk upright, silent as brides. Uppers begin
to melt. Soles grow too hot for blood. Still they shovel
the graphite that is erasing marrow, spine, balls-
that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life.
Then the Soldiers. Nervous as children. They re-make it -
Erect slabs with the wide stare of the innocent, crosshatch
the wreck roughly with steel, fill it in with that grey
crayon of state Concrete. In soiled beds, in the dreams
of their mothers, they liquefy. Yet Spring still chooses
this forest, where no deer graze and roots strike upwards.
Fissures open in the cement - rain finds them. They grow
puff spores of poison. Concrete and lead can only take
so much. What remains must be done by flesh.
Ukrainian Prosecutors Reveal Huge Embezzlement of Chernobyl Funds [April 22, 2005]

Chernobyl Requiem, Part 1 [2004]

Engineer Witnessed Chernobyl from Within - And Lived to Tell
Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster
Chernobyl Explorer Alexander Borovoi
Hyperphysics® links to Chernobyl information