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News update

Chernobyl confinement: Unique worldwide

Chernobyl confinement: Unique worldwide

29 November 2016 - Projects update and handover - Ukraine

In 1986, an accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station released radioactive dust into the air, which contaminated the area north of Kiev (Ukraine) and then spread across Europe. In November 2016, a new confinement arch – which will envelop reactor
4 and the dismantling work on it – is sliding into its final position. This project is unique worldwide, was led by two French groups – VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction – and cost €1.5 billion.

The project was financed by two international trusts, under the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a contributor itself), which managed the funding from the international community. The work was entrusted to Novarka, a 50/50 joint-venture encompassing VINCI Construction Grands Projets (a VINCI Construction subsidiary and the consortium’s leader) and Bouygues Travaux Publics (a Bouygues Construction subsidiary).

The work involved designing and building an arch-shaped confinement structure to cover the sarcophagus that was built in 1986, shortly after the accident.
The solution tendered by the VINCI Construction-led consortium was selected in 1992, following Ukraine’s competition to attract ideas. Its main purpose is to confine the radioactive material and protect the existing sarcophagus from the elements. In due course, the arch will also house the equipment and systems that crews will use to dismantle reactor
4. It will provide them with flexible and 100% safe working conditions, and keep human intervention to a minimum.

Final project delivery is scheduled for November 2017.

Over 10,000 people from 30 countries worked on this project. Radioactivity and air pollution were monitored continuously to keep staff safe at all times, and 60 radiation protection specialists worked on-site.

VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction have worked together on several other large projects around the world, and this is the latest example of their successful teamwork.

Actemium Portugal (VINCI Energies Europe) also took part in the project and realised a series of works installation of the integrated control system and radiological monitoring system on the arch.