The ‘Shelter’ object

The SO (Fig. 11.3), which was intended to provide the environmental con­tainment of the damaged reactor, was erected between May and November 1986, under conditions of high radiation exposure of the personnel. The SO was constructed using steel beams and plates as structural elements. Its

image172

11.3 General view of the Shelter object (as of 2008).

foundation rests at some points on the original structural elements of unit 4, whose structural integrity is not well known. Thus the ability of the SO structure to withstand natural events such as earthquakes and tornados is not known with any certainty.

The SO has approximately 1,000 m2 of openings in its surface. These openings allow approximately 2,000 m3 per year of precipitation to perco­late through the radioactively contaminated debris. The collected water is contaminated with 137Cs, 90Sr and transuranic elements. The main potential hazard associated with the SO is a possible collapse of its top structures and the release of radioactive dust into the environment. Another concern related to the fuel-containing material is its possible transport out of the SO into groundwater through the accumulated water.

To avoid a collapse of the SO, some measures have been implemented to strengthen unstable parts of the SO and to extend their stability to 40 years. In addition, a new safe confinement (NSC) facility is planned to be built as a cover over the existing SO. The Ukrainian government supports the concept of a multifunctional facility with a service life of at least 100 years. This facility aims to reduce the probability of SO collapse, reduce the consequences of such collapse, improve nuclear safety, improve worker and environmental safety, and convert unit 4 into an environmentally safe site. The construction of the NSC is expected to allow the current SO to be dismantled and removal of fuel-containing materials from unit 4.

RAW management at the SSC ‘Complex’ and SSC ‘Technocentre’

SSC ‘Complex’ is responsible for the final disposal of waste at the RWDP ‘Buriakovka’, as well as for the monitoring of the RWDPs ‘Podlesny’, ‘The III line of ChNPP’, and multiple RWTSP (see Fig. 11.2). SSC ‘Complex’ also carries out the RAW collection and transportation within the ChEZ.

As the ‘Buriakovka’ facilities do not fully comply with the current requirements of surface disposal facilities, SSC ‘Technocentre’ started con­struction of the ‘Vector’ complex. At present, this new near-surface facility for low and intermediate level radioactive waste processing, storage and disposal, is under development. This complex will include:

• an engineering facility for the processing of all types of solid RAW;

• disposal facilities for short-lived solid RAW;

• storage facilities for long-lived waste (including fuel-containing materials);

• intermediate storage for vitrified HLW to be prepared for final disposal at a deep geological disposal facility.[27]

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