One of the biggest engineering projects on the planet, is underway to protect the area of the damaged nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, almost 30 years after the worst ever nuclear accident.
Images © AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
An arch is built up to seal hundreds of tons of nuclear fuel buried inside one of the reactors, that blew up in 1986 and burned for almost 10 days.
Chernobyl’s 1.5bn euro arch it’s not a simple construction. Workers can only spend a few hours at the site before reaching the largest radioactive exposure limit.
Work has started removing sections weighing up to 55 tons each. They must be cut off with a plasma cutter by teams of two men and removed by crane—a nerve-wracking process. If a crane fails, or an operator miscalculates, and a section falls into the reactor, this too could release a new cloud of radioactive dust into the atmosphere.