This is a series of emails written by me, inviting fellow colleagues in the Department of Civil Engineering, UTP for the weekly coffee break. Attendee - lecturers, technicians and postgraduate students.
25 years after reactor 4 exploded, sending radioactive plume across the northern hemisphere, the effort of containing the reactor is still on-going until today. Workers wearing white protective suits and respirator show up for work every day. The main job? Constructing a new concrete shield to replace a massive sarcophagus built in 1986 that still contains the still-radioactive core. The problem is the isotopes released during the nuclear accident, remain radioactive for thousands of years and the concrete sarcophagus has already shown signs of deterioration.
US$1.1 billion is needed for the new concrete shelter; when completed stands 110 m tall and with a weight of 29,000 tonnes. However, the normal concrete lifespan pales in comparison when measured with the effect of 20,000 years of the radioactive lifespan of the reactor as calculated by the director of the Chernobyl power plant. Another billion will have to be spent over and over again.
Perhaps, ultra-high-density (UHD) concrete should be the answer. It is said to last for 16,000 years. Though, we will not be there to see the proof.
Day: Every Wednesday (starting 6th April 2011)
Time: 10:10 -10:40am (official time but you can come/leave as you wish in between)
What to do?: Bring your own cup of coffee/tea