Part of Chornobyl Power Plant Collapsed
At 2 p.m. on Feb. 12, part of the roof and the wall of the Chornobyl nuclear plant collapsed, Ukraine's emergencies services announced. The accident took down about 600 square meters of a covering adjacent to the ill-famed fourth unit. Emergencies services said radiation levels did not increase after the accident.
Ukrainian officials said the preliminary cause for the collapse was heavy snowfall. Meanwhile, the plants administration gave itself two weeks to investigate the accident.
According to Chornobyls spokeswoman Maya Rudenko, normally snow is cleaned from the plants roof. However, she wouldnt say if the snow was properly removed in the days before the accident, but noted that there were constant snowfalls and rain in recent days.
The collapsed area was part of a machinery hall located 50 meters from the plant's fourth reactor, the one that exploded in 1986, spewing radiation over a large part of Europe. The building was part of protective construction built after the catastrophe. While the sarcophagus covers the reactor itself, other protective structures are built around the entire unit.
Rudenko says they knew there was a risk of collapsing of the old constructions. According to her, plans to dismantle the old structures are still at the discussion stage. She added that the last survey of their condition took place in 2011, and that so far there is no plan to inspect them again because of the accident.