UKRAINE will stage an international competition for engineers to ensure the lasting safety of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. It is hoping to lure aid from the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialised countries to safeguard the Chernobyl reactor. Ukraine has three Chernobyl-type plants in its territory. An existing "sarcophagus", containing a fourth reactor, built after the 1986 Chernobyl blow-up, is reportedly leaking and is vulnerable to storms and earthquakes. Inside is a volatile mix of compounds with a temperature of 400 C that some scientists believe could contaminate the surroundings any time.
The winner of the contest has to tackle two problems: make the sarcophagus safe for at least a 100 years and dispose the fuel and debris inside.