That’s the thing, it isn’t a “radioactive wasteland.” There is thriving wildlife in the area, on the History Channel show the person showing the area picked up an antler from a red deer that was quite large. There are places that you can’t go, but there are safe areas.
I understand that the thing is going to burn for 50 million years? And that in all that time, it will continue to eat at the concrete they used to cap it? Am I right about that? Won’t it sooner or later eat through the core of the earth and cause radioactive volcanism?
No it will not burn for 50 million years. :roll:
The Chernobyl unit 4 is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant. However, the structure is neither strong nor durable. The international Shelter Implementation Plan in the 1990s involved raising money for remedial work including removal of the fuel-containing materials. Some major work on the shelter was carried out in 1998 and 1999. Some 200 tonnes of highly radioactive material remains deep within it, and this poses and environmental hazard until it is better contained.
A New Safe Confinement structure will be built by the end of 2011, and then will be moved into place on rails. It is to be a metal arch 105 metres high and spanning 257 metres, to cover both unit 4 and the hastily-built 1986 structure. The Chernobyl Shelter Fund, set up in 1997, has received EUR 810 million from international donors and projects to cover this project and previous work. It and the Nuclear Safety Account, also applied to Chernobyl decommissioning, are managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
As of 2006, some fuel at units 1 to 3 remained in the reactors, most is in each unit’s cooling pond, and some in a small interim spent fuel storage facility pond (ISF-1).
In 1999 a contract was signed for construction of a radioactive waste management facility to store 25,000 used fuel assemblies from units 1-3 and other operational wastes, as well as material from decommissioning units 1-3 (which will be the first RBMK units decommissioned anywhere). The contract included a processing facility, able to cut the RBMK fuel assemblies and to put the material in canisters, which will be filled with inert gas and welded shut. They will then be transported to the dry storage vaults in which the fuel containers would be enclosed for up to 100 years. This facility, treating 2500 fuel assemblies per year, would be the first of its kind for RBMK fuel. However, after a significant part of the storage structures had been built, technical deficiencies in the concept emerged, and the contract was terminated in 2007. The interim spent fuel storage facility (ISF-2) will now be completed by others by mid 2013.
Another contract has been let for a Liquid radioactive Waste Treatment Plant, to handle some 35,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level liquid wastes at the site. This will need to be solidified and eventually buried along with solid wastes on site.
In January 2008 the Ukraine government announced a 4-stage decommissioning plan which incorporates the above waste activities and progresses towards a cleared site.