The New Safe Confinement encloses the reactor and related debris for at least a century
Within months of the 1986 disaster, Soviet crews contained the radioactive wreckage inside a temporary shelter, a 21-story-tall "sarcophagus." There were many gaps, and most of the sarcophagus wasn't secured to the underlying structure, leaving the enclosure vulnerable to leaking rainwater, settling, and earthquakes.
In the latter part of the 1990s, after we helped with a short-term fix to stabilize the sarcophagus, a Bechtel-led team designed what's known as the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure, the heart of a broader, longer-term Shelter Implementation Plan.
About the Confinement Shelter
The $1.3 billion NSC will enclose the reactor and associated debris—as well as the sarcophagus surrounding it—providing a confined space within which unstable upper portions of the sarcophagus can be taken apart and the remaining highly radioactive material removed to a long-term storage repository. This will reduce exposure of the existing shelter to weather, and restrict the release of radioactive dust that could result from an accidental collapse beneath the new confinement. It will also provide a safe working environment for cleanup personnel.