Inside the Sarcophagus the radiation levels are as high as 3400 Roentgen per hour [1 R = 2.58 * 10^-4 C/kg].
The working time of the engineers is determined by the radioactivity
they are exposed to. When the dosimeter each of them carries starts to beep
alarmingly, they need to leave the reactor immediately.
Sergeij K. who recorded this footage usually stays a little longer.
The white dots that can bee seen on the pictures that look like snow
are also caused by the radiation which the digital cameras are quite
The clock in this control room
stopped at the exact time the incident took place: 1:23 am, april 26th, 1986
Despite the strongly limited time, work is done without hurry to avoid mistakes.
The mounting teams know exactly where the other ones interrupted their repairing
Inside the exploded reactor block, additional staircases were installed
to reach most of the locations but this isn't possible. Totally, only one third of
the entire reactor block has been explored. The sectors have names and numbers which
the workers shout out to one another.
Every now and then men can be heard wading through water. Rain and melting water
are the biggest enemy of the Sarcophagus. These caused gradual decay during the past
Sergeij likes to compare the inside of the Sarcophagus to a mine field. Each step
can decide upon what radiation dose one is exposed to. At this place it is
really dirty as can be seen by the black speckles on the yellow gloves.
"dirty" is what the workers call the radiation reaching extreme levels.
The cotton dress and the plastic overall offer only limited protection against (alpha)
radiation. The helmets are considered much more important because pieces of stone
could fall down from the ceiling. The once molten, highly radioactive material has been cast
to bizarre forms.Temperatures exceeded 1000 degrees Celsius at the time of the disaster.
Sergeij gave names to these lumps. This one he calls "elephant's foot".
Sergeij is now right underneath the ceiling of the Sarcophagus. It's cracked, corroded and
full of holes. it's area measures 100 square meters. The extent can be by the light
Should The Sarcophagus one day collapse, a large nuclear dust cloud would be generated.
Experts consider it the safest way to build another Sarcophagus around the first, older one.
A hall larger than the Statue of Liberty, called "Arche", that would cost
about 650.000.000 Euros.
Here, the white dots caused by radioactivity can be seen again. This sprinklers were
installed to bind the floating, radioactive dust particles. At least a little protection
in this hazardous job.