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Wormwood 15
The cans in the market suddenly stopped having labels. I don't think it was because they ran out of paper.
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[RU: Саркофаг (ОУ)], [DE: Sarkophag]

The sarcophagus is a concrete building that encases the destroyed 4th reactor.


Chernobyl 53

Soldiers shoveling the graphite nuclear core off the roof of reactor building #3.

Prior to being built over, large chunks of the 4th reactor had to be shoveled back into it manually. Following this tonnes of sand, dolomite, concrete and lead were dumped into the crater that had once been the nuclear core because water could not put out the fire. These raw materials were dropped onto the reactor from helicopters, and it took nine days to put out the inferno.


Wormwood 115

Liquidators on their way to the Exclusion Zone.

Hundreds of young men were brought to the reactor after the fire was put out. None of them had sufficient protection from radiation, and many died within a year following. Concrete blocks were poured and assembled together like giant Legos every day, and slowly but surely the liquidators erected the sarcophagus.



Wormwood 20

The rapidly deteriorating sarcophagus.

The sarcophagus was hastily built, which means that there are fissures and cracks in it where small animals can crawl inside and carry out contamination in their fur, and where radioactive dust can escape. Even worse, this means that rainwater and snow can enter, sometimes causing ice to form, which speeds up the erosion process of the concrete. The only smart thing that the Soviets did (perhaps unwittingly) was use concrete for the construction of the sarcophagus, the reason being that concrete does not hold radioactivity and radiation does not pass through it easily. So long as it does not collapse, most of the radiation will remain contained to the ruins of the 4th reactor.

Radioactive Material[]

Contained within the sarcophagus is a large amount of leftover radioactive material, including several tons of urainium-235 and more than a ton of weapons-grade plutonium. Worse still, no one really knows what is happening with any of it. The good news: the very same lava that threatened to cause an even worse disaster has now cooled enough to harden and retard the release of radiation. However, scientists do not know how long it will be able to hold in the lethal particles.