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New Chernobyl Arch at long last installed

The new Chernobyl Arch, shown here under construction a number of years ago. The old Chernobyl Sarcophagus is shown in the background.As reported by the London Guardian, the largest movable structure in human history has finally been installed at Chernobyl. The Arch, as it is called, was decades in the planning, and many years under construction (see photo, left). It had to be built some distance from the radioactive remains of Chernobyl Unit 4, which exploded and burned beginning on April 26, 1986. There even had to be radiation shielding in between what's left of Unit 4, and the new Arch construction site, to protect the workers. This is because Unit 4 is still dangerously radioactive, even though it is within a hastily built containment structure, called the Sarcophagus.

The new Arch has cost a whopping $1.6 billion. The air-tight Arch is intended to suppress radioactive dust, as the old Sarcophagus, at risk of collapse, is dismantled within, by remote control cranes and other high-tech equipment. In that sense, the Arch represents a $1.6 billion, high-tech dust cover, or tarp!

The Arch is only intended to last for a century. It could well need replacement at that point, in order to continue to contain the radioactive hazards within, which will persist for a million years or more into the future.

Given the old Sarcophagus, the new Arch, and the likely need for a replacement high-tech, astronomically expensive dust cover in the year 2116, this situation can be likened to Russian dolls, with a monster-load of hazardous radioactivity that must be contained within.