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Should the city of Pripyat be saved?:

Ukraine to begin construction of new Chernobyl shelter

Ukraine is about to begin the construction of a new shelter above the devastated fourth unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, officials said.

A contract was signed two years ago between Ukraine and French-led consortium Norvarka to build the new 'sarcophagus'.

The cover will cost USD 505 million and may be ready in five years, they said.

The work for the cover, claimed to stay for another 100 years, will begin in 2010, while the giant arch will be erected by 2015. It will have length of 257 metres, width of 150 metres and a height of 108 metres.

The project has been evaluated and presented to the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee. Nuclear and radiation security requirements are taken into account in the action plan.

The arch will be assembled 180 metres away from the existent sarcophagus for reducing the radiation impact on workers, they said.

Catherine Varaksina

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