- Experts say another nuclear disaster
could soon engulf the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine.
- The concrete case, which was built around
the ruined reactor to seal in deadly waste and fuel, is crumbling.
- Video footage obtained by the BBC shows
cracks in the roof of the sarcophagus and water dripping into the foundations.
- As a result, the structure could collapse
on the ruins of the reactor sending radioactive dust billowing into the
- The head of maintenance at the plant,
Artur Korneyev, said the most serious effect would be on Ukraine's river
- "The Dnieper River, which flows
through Kiev, would carry radioactive pollution," Mr Korneyev told
the BBC. "Eventually the whole Black Sea area could be contaminated."
- Radioactivity 300 times greater than
the Hiroshima bomb was released into the atmosphere after the accident
at the plant in April 1986.
- It was the worst nuclear disaster in
- Children living nearby contracted cancer.
Crops, livestock and vast areas of land across Europe were contaminated
by the radioactive fallout.
- Hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine
and neighbouring Belarus had to be resettled away from farmland contaminated
around the plant.
- The metal casing that surrounds the plant
was hastily assembled after the accident in an effort to stem the spread
of radioactive dust. But experts now say it is showing signs of decline.
- As part of a European understanding,
the Chernobyl power plant will be closed down in two years. In return,
wealthier Western nations will contribute money to build a new sarcophagus
for the power plant.
- But even when the reconstruction is complete,
the Chernobyl disaster will remain a symbol of the danger of nuclear power.
Experts believe that 100 years from now, Ukraine could still be living
with the consequences of the 1986 disaster.