Far back in 1986, Ukraine had an experienced event that did not leave indifferent to the people’s grief and suffering. There was an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Since then, much time has gone, much water has flowed under the bridges. But the memories of those tragic days and events are still alive in the people’s memories and hearts.
But the world and the technology do not stand still, everything is in progress, people of the Earth want to live and grow in the safe environment, free from threats, providing themselves and their descendants with health, happiness and the opportunity to enjoy each new day.
Let us remember what happened after the Chernobyl accident. After the liquidation of the explosion the government decided to construct a protective shelter over the destroyed reactor. Strengthening the destroyed nuclear power plant unit, scientists predicted that the sarcophagus would last 15 years, but it was gradually breaking and lasted only 13 years. Unfortunately, since then it had not been able to guarantee absolute protection from radiation.
In March 2004 the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced an international tender for design, construction and commissioning of a new sarcophagus for Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Before construction a conceptual project was prepared, covering not only the construction of arches, but also the demolition of the unstable structures. The French NOVARKA, joint venture company by Vinci Construction Grands Projets and BOUYGUES was acknowledged as the successful tenderer.
On 5 September 2010 the construction of a new protective arch over the ruined reactor unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was begun. The goal of its construction was the urgent need to hide the existing shelter and thereby protect people from repeating the terrible tragedy. For a general understanding of the readers, if you have ever seen photos of places which suffered a strong earthquake, it is only a small part of what is under the sarcophagus. Imagine yourself that everything is collapsed after the explosion hanging in a spider web; there are edge beams and supporting structures (some of them weigh 60 to 80 tonnes).
The project for the construction of a new protective arch required a huge investment. Project financing was fully assumed by Donor Assembly of Chernobyl Fund. The preliminary cost of the project for the construction of the protective arch is € 935 million.
Currently the construction has already started. The arch is going to be built at the place located in three hundred metres from the old shelter. At first, the eastern part will be installed, and then the west one, and finally both of them will be slided over the sarcophagus. The new shelter will be a double-layer arch of 250x150 metres and with a height of 108 metres. It is higher than the Statue of Liberty (93 m) and the Motherland Statue (102 m). The constructed arch will cover a vast area, especially the ruined reactor unit and the old sarcophagus. Thus, there will appear a place for demolition of the unstable structures and an ability to put them carefully together until their further recycling. Also, the arch is expected to prevent corrosion in the unit. Experts predict that a new sarcophagus will last at least 150 years.
It is clear that for such non-standard construction tasks relevant equipment should be used. Thus, preparations for the construction of the protective arch over the unit 4 were carried out with modern crawler crane Liebherr LR 1750.
This crane is perfectly suited for applications in power stations, refineries, bridge construction sites and the assembly of wind power plants. The 750-t machine can be universally applied due to its technical capacity (140 m main boom, 105 m luffing fly-jib, 21 m assembly jib and 400-t suspended counterweight). The 750-t crane can also be operated with outrigger supports, featuring a support base of 13 x 13 m. Lifting capacities can thus be increased by up to 370%. Compact dimensions of the crane components and moderate individual weights allow a highly economic transport of the crane to the building site.
One cannot pass over highly professional activities of the freight forwarding company for the transportation of the crane in Belgium, from where it was directly transported in 2010 for the implementation of non-standard, complex construction work. A company chosen for this purpose is a well-known in Ukraine freight forwarding company Interfreight which has provided flawless transportation services of any complexity for more than 10 years by showing a real sincere care of the customers and the development of their businesses.
Transportation of the crane has been carried out in a disassembled state. The total number of required cars for the integrated delivery of the crane Liebherr LR 1750 was 57! Just imagine the complexity of the implementation of the international project transportation.
57 low-bed specialized vehicles, designed specifically for the international transportation of oversized cargo, within a few days quickly and efficiently took away the crane from the Chernobyl closed zone. No doubt, such projects can be carried out only by top-ranking specialists who can confirm it not by words but by deeds. Interfreight is the very company that timely and qualitatively has carried out the most difficult international project transportation.
It is expected to complete the construction of the protective arch in 2016. At peak time they will involve 2.5 thousand of people on the project. “By 2016, we have to mount a new arch and slide it into a design position and encapsulate”, said the head of the State Agency of Ukraine on the exclusion zone management Vladimir Kholosha.
According to the expectations of the experts, until 2166 the whole world will be in safety and the world's population cannot worry about the possible destruction of the sarcophagus and the increasing of radioactive pollution.