Ukraine to Cover Chernobyl in Steel
Radioactive site still contains 95% of its nuclear material
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2007 6:21 PM CDT
French junior minister for industry and foreign trade Herve Novelli visits the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, on Monday, Sept. 17, 2007, with the sheltered Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 in the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The crumbling concrete that has encased Chernobyl for over 20 years is about to be replaced. In a deal worth $1.4 billion, a French firm will cover the aging nuclear reactor with steel, the BBC reports. Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko declared today the day "a solution to the problem that has long been called the Chernobyl problem was formally found."

The arc-shaped structure will measure over 600 feet on each side, completely covering the original, hastily constructed concrete shell. Once the project is completed, officials will finally be able to dismantle the reactor, which still contains 95% of its nuclear material. In a separate deal, a US company will build a nuclear waste storage facility nearby.