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Massive Chernobyl Containment Shield Moved Into Final Position


The huge structure that will prevent further leaks of radiation from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been moved into its final position.

On November 29, the world’s largest movable metal structure was placed over the stricken fourth reactor to replace the decaying concrete structure that rescuers put into place in the wake of the April 1986 disaster that sent radiation spewing across Europe.

The 108-meter-high structure -- which took two weeks to slide into place -- is taller than the Statue of Liberty and cost some $1.6 billion, with funding coming from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

EXCLUSIVE: Chernobyl's New Containment Shield

The new arch is designed to withstand earthquakes and extreme weather conditions and should contain the reactor’s radiation for a century.

Inside, it contains monitoring equipment and automated fire-suppression systems.

Eventually, officials plan to dismantle the old concrete sarcophagus and remove the remaining nuclear fuel from the plant.

The United Nations estimates around 4,000 people either died directly from the 1986 accident or later from cancer and other radiation-related causes.

Environmental activists such as Greenpeace put the overall death toll as high as 100,000.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and dpa
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