Job price in health. How to erect an Arch at the Chernobyl NPP

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

The arch over the fourth reactor should be built by November 2016

On the construction of Arches, which in November will cover emergency the fourth power unit of Chernobyl, an international team works.

Alexander Kushnir — head mounting-climbing on the Arch of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — gives instructions with almost 100 meters of height of the West wall. Bottom Kushnir is even hard to find the opinion among the scattering of small orange masks and white overalls, writes Xenia Tsivirko at No. 16 in the magazine Reporter on April 22, 2016..

It is the world’s largest construction of this kind, which, moving on a giant rails with a system of jacks, tightly close an emergency unit.
Protective dome weighs 31 tonnes, which is equivalent to almost three Eyfeleva towers, and its area equal to 12 football fields.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

The facility strictly adhere to health standards

“My team is now engaged in the so-called technological edge, trying to shout to the Correspondent Kushnir through the dense mask of the respirator, without which there do not work. — Using reinforcement, concrete, other structures we Causticum interior, will make the wall inside.”

At these end faces with the Western and Eastern sides at the end of the year will lower protective multi-layer massive arch, which in the case of the collapse of the old sarcophagus will have to keep the world from another nuclear catastrophe.

Once the shelter is established, the plant workers have the dismantling of unstable structures of the power unit. While radiation waste and fuel-containing materials are still buried along with the ruins of the reactor, the facility remains dangerous.

Scientists have 100 years — that the warranty on the arch, — within which they have to find an optimal way to extract deadly compounds. And while the primary task is to isolate the power unit is 1.5 thousand employees of the station who work around the clock.

The ChNPP personnel is carefully selected physicians and a staff of SBU: the station is a special facility equipped with numerous sanitary inspection.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

The station workers ride the commuter train, the entrance to which is strictly by permit only

The path from the checkpoint to the immediate place of work can take a long three hours.

The bustle of the working process, no one will escape the watchful eye of inspectors for labor protection and dosimetrists. Received exposure to higher than normal are sent home immediately and permanently.

The project of the new safe confinement (NSC), called here as shelter from radiation, created 15 years ago. In 2007 he began the construction of the French consortium Novarkaи must be completed by November.

“For Ukraine of money on this project are absolutely overwhelming, says Anton Usov, senior Advisor of the European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Then was assembled, the Assembly of donors from some 60 countries to help Ukraine”.

The Assembly of donors established the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, from which the project has already been spent 935 million euros.

People’s friendship arch

At exactly 10:30 at the entrance of the administrative building from the bus hurriedly leave the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, hurrying to jobs. Among them the master of construction works Viktor Rusakov, who took recently on my 15-day watch.

He, like most employees, spends two weeks in the dormitory of Chernobyl, and two weeks — at home, in a restorative vacation.

While in his native Fastiv Rusakov waiting for children and grandchildren, he is in the dusty gloom of the destroyed premises of the fourth unit performs important for all residents of the European mission.

“Here I started to work in 2012 with a simple installer, but I love my job, so I soon got promoted, — patter blurts out Rusakov, and now I have my own crew of 15 people”.

His muffled mask voice lost amongst the roar of cars and noise tools. He leads a Reporter through a large opening in the wall of the Arch, covered by a faded tarpaulin.

Inside works team Rusakov. Her task is to break out the old slab and then erect a new concrete wall approximately three metres thickness, which will form the arch.

Descending into the trench, and the people weave the skeleton of the armature, which soon will pour a piece of concrete. Over the old sarcophagus the radiation levels are not very high, therefore a work day in the brigade lasts on average 3-4 hours.

However, there are places where workers receive a daily dose of 2.5 microsievert in a matter of minutes working near or irradiated reactor elements of power unit.

“In the winter of 2013 I worked on the vent pipe — was doing some painting. So there in 15 minutes we gained his dose, — remembers hares, But there is still such strong wind that it blew right fresh paint [extending the time and increasing the irradiation of dust particles, flying from the unit]”.

The most dangerous job in the engine room of unit. After a five-minute fuss with any unit employee must immediately leave this place, you are warned shrill squeak of the black of the dosimeter on the chest.

Man in striped overalls already accustomed calmly leaves the place of work to signal “desika”. In the most dangerous parts are working, the Ukrainians, although in the staff station employs about 200 foreigners from 27 countries.

According to Kushnir, the staff of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — one big family. The Americans, who are engaged in occupational safety, fun to communicate with Ukrainian workers, even without an interpreter.

“You can perfectly understand each other, even speaking different languages. — If someone thinks that here the tower of Babel, we prove the reverse”.

According to the observations Kushnir, nearly half of the compatriots working on the construction of Arches, came from the occupied Donbass. With housing and employment they have a tight — explains the choice of the perilous work of Kushnir.

The salaries here varies from 8 to 12 thousand UAH. But when you get here, you realize that in these circumstances it is a little not the money. But the young guys are coming here out of desperation

Alexander Kushnir — head mounting-climbing on the Arch

“The salaries here varies from 8 to 12 thousand UAH. — he continues. But when you get here, you realize that in these circumstances it is a little not the money [which correspond to such risky work]. But the young guys are coming here out of desperation, many for money have no regard for your health”.

Ukrainian Novarka employee, who asked not to be name because he got a job in this company, agreed that Ukrainian workers at the station deserve better.

According to him, the French are very demanding to perform work, but the salary is paid without delay, in contrast to many local employers.

“The French believe: we are the owners here, we’re the kings, — says the Novarka. — Often black and white, that work must be done in such a way that they require and Vice versa. And try to resist — so you immediately fired”.

Often the authorities require performance of tasks in the documents were not agreed or requested to expedite the deadlines set in the project.

The French company charges on average € 800 salaries to Ukrainian staff, but realistically, employees will receive a maximum of $ 300

However, as learned above-mentioned employee from his friend, the sysadmin who has access to Chilam accounting, a French company charges on average € 800 salaries to Ukrainian staff, but realistically, employees will receive a maximum of $ 300.

Such complaints, the Reporter found on the website of reviews about employers. They are links to the Ukrainian Unified register of court decisions, which contain materials on the claims of individual employees to the consortium.

So one of the plaintiffs, a citizen of Ukraine that claims that in the period from August 2008 to December 2010 he received five times smaller than – $ 39 thousand instead of $ 197 thousand, attaching as a document of the business correspondence of the company.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

Ukrainians are not too dissatisfied with the level of payment for work in very dangerous conditions

However, the claim was not satisfied because it was filed only in 2012 — after the Statute of limitations. In addition, according to Nadezhda Shevchenko, assistant project Manager Novarka, the court recognized the authenticity of the information by the plaintiff.

The company would not comment on the announced the difference between the declared and real wages, said Shevchenko, the Correspondent, and also said that the court in this case ruled in favor of the employer.

“No matter what, all hard and meekly hold on to your seats, because now the shortage of manpower there and anyone can take your job,” says employee Novarka.

Nevertheless in their work there are advantages, say the company’s employees: friendly staff, good food in the dining room, a utility transport. The inhabitants of workers ‘ hostels assure that live in European conditions — spacious rooms renovated, which are also regularly cleans the office personnel.

A hundred years ago forward

Today all the forces of Chernobyl thrown to the end of November with the help of 116 special jacks to push the confinement for leaking, damaged, an old sarcophagus.

The multilayer cladding of the arch with a complex ventilation system would “bury” under a source of radiation for many 100 years and safeguard against the contrast of temperatures and hurricanes. The shelter will withstand a drop from -43 to +45 °C and tornado 3rd class speed 70-93 m/s.

The world will be isolated from radiation even in case of collapse of the internal structure of the power unit, which, as you know, immediately after the accident, concrete was poured from helicopters.

Now this hastily built “tomb” because of its age literally scattered in the eyes, losing the tightness.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

Ukraine never have been able to build such an object

After you install the arches in the operating position you can proceed to the main goal of the project is to dismantle the unstable part of the power unit and remove radiological waste and fuel-containing materials.

Although the prospects of this critical phase today, misty, says Anatoly Nosovsky, Deputy Director on scientific issues of the State scientific and technical center on nuclear and radiation safety.

It is not known whether the EBRD to Finance the dismantling of the power unit, and takuto and how to operate the confinement facility.

“In any case should not be allowed to hang barn door and forgot about it for 100 years, he says. — In the woods [first poorly made sarcophagus stations] are caked labourasse FCM, which was hastily filled with concrete. Nobody in the world does not know how to handle this fuel. Even the Japanese after Fukushima watch our experience.”

Now there are two scenarios for the future of the Arch: once after installation to start removing radioactive wastes, or to freeze the project for 100 years, waiting for the emergence of new technologies and reduction of background radiation.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

After the installation of the Arch at Chernobyl will still be a lot of work

Oleksiy Pasyuk, expert of National ecological center of Ukraine, believes that we cannot wait. According to him, the safer they won’t, and the hope for the emergence of radically new technologies related to radiation, a small.

“The international community has repeatedly promised that in 10 years there’ll be a breakthrough in the nuclear industry, but the reality remains, says Pasyuk. Nuclear energy remains [fundamental scientific and technical] changes for 60 years”.

If as soon as possible not to disassemble the unstable structure under the Arch, time will finally destroy the power unit, and remove radioactive waste will be possible only with the help of robotic technology, resistant to radiation, but the robots are not created yet, experts stress.

Today, however, Arch is equipped with two cranes managed by people from safe technology centre, located at the Western wall. And while the cranes can perform Assembly work and without the direct involvement of subtle electronics, unstable before exposure.

Not even a simple electronic mechanisms are “friends” with radiation, say the experts. Konstantin Lichkun, engineer on labor protection Ukrenergomontazh, one of the contractors of the Arch, says that in 15 years he had to change about a dozen mobile phones — they all suddenly refused to work.

Работа ценой в здоровье. Как возводят Арку на ЧАЭС

Photo By Dmitry Nikonorova

The radiation at the station are not the same everywhere, but there are areas where you can work only a few minutes

“Last year we launched the drone at 5-7 m above the turbine hall, there was radiation in x-rays 7. The spacecraft took off, hovered in the air, and then fell with a speed — imagine that … 110 km/h!” recalls Lichkun.

Gosudarstvennosti management exclusion zone gives optimistic forecasts. Specialists promise to transform the area around Chernobyl in the environmental area, and the Ministry of the environment — almost to create a biosphere reserve.

Despite widespread rumors among the workers that after hitting the arch will dismiss all the houses, and officials urge that this, somehow, will be followed by dismantling.

Rusakov hoped that after the installation of the shelter will still have a lot of work, for which he will gladly undertake.

“Not even counting the removal, there will need to finish a lot of what he suggests. — Just imagine: you built a house, put the roof, but under it, too, will have something to plug”.


This material is published in number 16 of the magazine Reporter on April 22, 2016. Reprinting of publications of magazine Correspondent in full is prohibited. With the rules of use magazine Reporter, published on the website Корреспондент.net can be found here.

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