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The Leader Podcast: How a professor is decommissioning the nuclear tomb inside Chernobyl

·1-min read
The safe confinement zone at the covering reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear site (SSE Chernobyl NPP/PA)
The safe confinement zone at the covering reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear site (SSE Chernobyl NPP/PA)

Thirty-five years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl - or Chornobyl in Ukrainian - Professor Tom Scott, a nuclear expert at the University of Bristol and Royal Academy research fellow, is using robo dogs to help local scientists decommission the exploded reactor entombed in a decaying “sarcophagus”.

A sarcophagus is the size of a small cathedral and was built over Reactor 4 following the 1986 explosion to contain radioactive lava, contaminated soil and debris from the blast - but the construction materials meant it would only last a couple of decades, and the roof sprung a leak.

Listen here:

So in 2019, construction of a giant hanger-like arch was completed over both the reactor and sarcophagus to encase everything for a century so dismantling and clean-up of waste from the reactor’s remains could continue.

Hear the story of how Professor Scott’s team is using camera-equipped robotic dogs to 3D-map parts of Chornobyl too dangerous for humans due to intense radiation.

You can find us on your Spotify Daily Drive or wherever you stream your podcasts.

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