Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion, the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. Ukraine officials are gifting the nuclear site with an odd sort of birthday hat — a massive containment cap, or “Chernobyl sarcophagus.”
An international drive has raised funds from governments towards building a new permanent covering to slide over a temporary concrete-and-steel shelter that was hastily erected after the disaster and is now dangerously crumbling.
The 20,000-tonne arched structure, known as the New Safe Confinement, is designed to last for a century and spans 257 meters.
The shell, which will cost about 1.5 billion euros (nearly $2 billion), is absolutely massive: It’s big enough to cover all of New York’s Statue of Liberty.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2015, but let’s hope the structure is put up lickety split — even 26 years later, Chernobyl is still a veritable pool of noxious contaminants.