The old sarcophagus, erected over the destroyed 4th power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, can fall apart at any moment, according to the managing company of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The structure, hastily erected by the heroic efforts of 600, 000 Soviet workers and engineers, is today held in place by gravity alone. About 400, 000 cubic meters concrete and 30, 000 tons of steel retain the shape of the structure, but it is thoroughly worn out and has long lost its tightness.
When the Sarcophagus was built in 1986, the speed of work was in the first place, and the strength of the protective structure, which had to withstand the little-studied threat posed by the destroyed nuclear power plant core, was in the second place. They thought about the accuracy of installation in the last place, the issue of durability was also not really worked out due to a lack of time and resources. As a result, over the course of three decades, many cracks and holes have formed in the “Sarcophagus” at the joints of the elements. The old insulation also fell into disrepair.
Fortunately, the assembly of the New Safe Confinement, a giant dome made of 32, 000 tons of steel, was completed back in 2016. It became the largest land-based mobile structure in history - the dome was assembled side by side and pulled over the "Sarcophagus", completely covering it and all the old structures. Now inside, under the new protection, you can safely carry out dismantling work, which will begin in the near future.
It has already been announced that a contract has been signed between the management company GSP Chernobyl NPP and the contractor Ukrbudmontazh for the dismantling of the Sarcophagus until 2023. After that, an even more difficult stage will begin - the elimination of lava masses formed when extinguishing a burning core with a mixture of sand, lead and boron. They are extremely radioactive, and therefore require new processing methods. This phase is scheduled to be completed by 2065.