Workers at the Chernobyl Power Plant are now facing some of the highest radiation levels ever while they put the finishing touches on a new decontamination structure for the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
After the fallout in 1986, workers at the plant built a sarcophagus to contain the radiation in just three months. But it was just a quick fix, designed without future decontamination in mind. And now, after more than 30 years, it’s at risk of collapse.
Workers are sealing the old structure with a new one they finished building a year ago, called the New Safe Confinement. They hope it will hold for the next 100 years.
“We needed some sort of solution that would be able to give us a safety and security and decommissioning over a very longer-term period,” said Simon Evans, the head of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund. “And this is what we have now.”
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the job of containing the fallout has required an international cast of players. But with the new containment structure, full control will soon be handed back over to Ukraine.
VICE News got an exclusive look inside the continuing efforts to clean up.
This segment originally aired December 4, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.