CHERNOBYL, Ukraine -- The work to install a giant shield over the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in Ukraine began Monday in an effort to block radioactive material from leaking out over the next several decades.
The installation of the shield is planned to complete on Nov. 29 at a total cost of $1.6 billion, the AFP news agency reports.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is the main sponsor of the project to slide in the arch shield, called the New Safe Confinement, made of concrete and steel, according to the BBC.
Once complete, the arch will block the remains of reactor four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which exploded in 1986, killing 30 people and affecting thousands with radiation poisoning.
“The start of the sliding of the arch over Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is the beginning of the end of a 30-year long fight with the consequences of the 1986 accident,” Ukraine’s Environment Minister Ostap Semerak said, according to the AFP.
Currently, a concrete dome that risks leaking nuclear waste protects the explosion site.