Interesting Food, Massive Catfish and a Record Breaking Movable Structure
After a hectic morning in Pripyat it was time to head to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant complex, where we would eat our dinner. Whilst there we also visited a disused railway bridge which we could observer the giant catfish that inhabit the cooling pond, and then around the New Safe Confinement structure that has been built over the Reactor 4 sarcophagus.
Chernobyl Canteen No. 19
The wonderful resource that is the internet assures me that this was canteen number 19. Located on the Western side of the Reactors 1 to 4 complex, it continues to operate serving workers and tourists alike.
We were greeted by some friendly wild dogs at the entrance to the building.
Giant Catfish and Railway Bridge
Across the zone there is a huge abundance of wildlife, the lack of human activity has massively outweighed the negative impact of the nuclear disaster in terms of allowing animals and plants to thrive. The former cooling ponds of Reactors 1-4 are now inhabited by some rather large catfish amongst other creatures. Supposedly some are upwards of 5 metres in length.
New Safe Confinement
The New Safe Confinement structure has recently been built and moved into place to cover the temporary sarcophagus that was hastily built after the destruction of Reactor 4 in 1986. The NSC has been designed and built by the French consortium Novarka which is a 50/50 venture of construction giants Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues Travaux Publics, the whole project has an estimated cost of €2.15 billion. The structure is 92.5 metres tall, 270 metres wide and 150 metres long, constructed 180 metres west of Reactor 4 and then slid into place over a period of 15 days.
It is intended to shield the radioactive remnants of the reactor building for the next 100 years, and to allow the deconstruction of the Sarcophagus structure to begin.
Adjacent to the NSC is a monument to the victims of the disaster, it's inscription reads "To the heroes and professionals. To those who protected the world from nuclear disaster. In honour of the 20th anniversary of the shelter object construction."