Scottish firm unveils monitoring role at Chernobyl reactor



Construction and property consultancy Thomas & Adamson has detailed the vital monitoring work it is conducting at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Northern Ukraine for the first time.

Inside the New Safe Confinement area

The site of the single biggest nuclear disaster in Europe continues to demand attention from the international community, including a consortium of donors from 45 countries, including all the G7 nation, as well as specialist expertise and monitoring to ensure its ongoing safety.

Working for the Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) and the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA), Edinburgh-headquartered Thomas & Adamson is leading an international team monitoring the construction of the New Safe Confinement (NSC), the largest moveable steel structure ever built to create a barrier against release of radioactive substances as well as creating an environment for further works. Standing at 108 meters high, 162 meters long, 257m wide and weighing approximately 36,000 tonnes, the NSC is long enough and high enough to house five Airbus A380s.

The NSC external structure 

Once complete, the NSC will create the appropriate conditions for the eventual dismantling and decommissioning of the contaminated Object Shelter (the original Sarcophagus). This, along with the Interim Storage Facility 2 (ISF-2), which will safely store the spent nuclear fuel from Reactors No. 1, 2 and 3, has seen Thomas & Adamson provide an invaluable monitoring role for the donors since 2014.

These efforts to confine the unstable concrete and steel sarcophagus, constructed quickly after the accident, are paramount to protecting the surrounding area from deadly radiation following the 1986 meltdown, which led to many premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of people being resettled and hundreds of billions of euros worth of damage.

Workers inside the New Safe Confinement area

Colin Ross, regional director at Thomas & Adamson, who is based in the company’s Kyiv office and leading the project, said: “We’ve been working at the Chernobyl site for over five years now providing expert support and independent oversight on programming completion of the works, financial management, risk management and quality assurance processes – crucial areas of responsibilities for a project of this size and status. With the number of international companies involved in protecting and safeguarding the site, it’s testament to the great team we have in place, our project experience and in-house nuclear expertise that we have been chosen to work on the project.

“As a company that works across a range of sectors – including life sciences and technology – we’re used to working in complex environments, but I don’t think any of us would ever have imagined that our roles as quantity surveyors and the like would have led us to work at the site of Europe’s worst nuclear disaster.”

The site is due to be handed over to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) later this year.



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