New Chernobyl roof to be fitted this year

After the disaster, a large tract of land around the plant was designated as a forbidden zone and ordinary people were completely prohibited from entering it for decades.

A new protective cover, erected in November 2016, over the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear reactor No.4 will be put into operation this fall, the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency reported on Thursday, citing a senior official.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant, some 110 km north of Kiev, witnessed one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history on April 26, 1986, when a series of explosions ripped through the No.4 reactor, spreading radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other European countries.

Shortly after the accident, the destroyed reactor was covered with a protective Shelter, which prevented the leakage of the radiation from the unit for decades. In November 2016, the New Safe Confinement, or the so-called Arch, was erected over the reactor to replace Shelter.

Vitaly Petruk, the head of the state agency on Chernobyl exclusion zone management, told reporters that the erection of the Arch would allow dismantling unstable structures of the Shelter facility.

In the future, it would enable extracting fuel masses from the facility, Petruk added.

After being put into operation, the Arch will protect the environment from radiation spewing from the unit in the next century.