35 Years After Chernobyl – What the City of Pripyat Looks Like Today

Sarcophagus over reactor no. 4, Chernobyl nuclear plant safety confinement (Photo: Shutterstock)

On May 29, 1986, construction began on a sarcophagus to cover reactor number four and limit the amount of ionizing radiation released from the destroyed reactor. It took about 90,000 workers and 206 days to complete, but it was far from structurally sound and meant to be a temporary measure until something more permanent could be constructed.

Plans for a new structure to contain the radiation, called the New Safe Confinement, began in June 1997, with G7 leaders committing $300 million to the Shelter Implementation Plan. Construction started in 1999 with repairs to the existing sarcophagus. Over the next 15 years, the cost of the project rose to a staggering 2.1 billion euros.