World governments on Tuesday pledged $785 million to help pay for a massive steel “arch” that will seal the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl under a “steel shield that would be large enough to enclose St Paul’s Cathedral,” according to The Guardian, and prevent any more radiation from leaking out for the next 100 years.The pledges were made at a conference in Kiev, just a few days before April 26, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. 28 countries offered money, with the European commission, the U.S. and Britain leading the way. The money brings the total raised for the project to $1.8 billion.
The new arch will take five years to build, and will replace a concrete “sarcophagus” that was built around the reactor in 1987, which has developed cracks and raised fears that radiation could escape. When completed, the arch will weigh 20,000 tons and measure 623 feet wide by more than 300 feet tall. But it will not be built directly above the reactor. Instead, it will be constructed at a specially prepared site nearby, and then rolled into position on massive rails.
Novarka, the consortium which designed and will build the arch, has released a video animating how the construction process will work.