Yet, 27 years later, the communities that continue to live with its awful legacy are all but forgotten. Ravaged by disease, birth defects and congenital disorders caused by their radioactive environment, the people of Belarus, Western Russian and Ukraine are too poor to afford even basic medical treatments.
Thankfully the milestone first stage of the new sarcophagus for Chernobyl’s nuclear power station has been completed. The unique construction to safely contain the radioactive emissions of Chernobyl for the next 100 years will be ready by October 2015.
The unprecedented new shelter will be 108m high (equivalent to a 30-story apartment building), 257m wide, and 150m long (almost two football fields). The approximate weight of the structure will be 29,000 tons.
The New Safe Confinement (NSC) project is called to replace the original Soviet confinement constructed in November 1986, half-a-year after an ill-fated experiment at Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986, ended up with a thermal explosion of the active zone.
The Chernobyl explosion became the biggest nuclear catastrophe of the 20th century. Tens of thousands of people living within the 30km exclusion zone around Chernobyl power station were evacuated; hundreds of thousands suffered from radiation-caused illnesses over the years.
The shelter fund established to construct a new sarcophagus for Chernobyl has been sponsored by 28 countries and managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and