Concrete shelters are, generally speaking, built
to last. There are of course some exceptions.
The authorities in Japan who are trying to clean
up the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor that was damaged in
the massive Japanese earthquake and Tsunami have been considering
burying the reactor in concrete, similar to the same method
used to cover up the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor which
exploded in 1986.
But some wonder if this is a good idea. In 1986
shortly after the Chernobyl explosion, it was considered smart
to use concrete shelters to cover up nuclear meltdowns that
everyone just wanted to "go away."
But the concrete shell built over the remains
of the Chernobyl reactor has been falling apart for several
years now and Russian scientists admit that for generations
to come a series of concrete shelters will have to be built
over the remains of Chernobyl and in reality none of them will
be the real permanent fix everyone hoped for.
With this in mind, is it really a good idea to
follow the same path in dealing with the Fukushima reactor in
Japan? Will Fukushima end up having a series of concrete shelters
built over it? Is this act of "passing the buck" and
passing on the responsibility of dealing with the situation
to future generations smart? Is it responsible?
When Does Being Practical Cross The Line And
After the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl
reactor, Russian authorities literally threw everything but
the kitchen sink at the reactor to try and get it to cool it
down. Once the fires were finally put out, workers built what
may be the biggest of all concrete shelters: A huge "sarcophagus"
built of concrete and sand with the hopes of safely forever
covering the reactor.
But despite its massive size and cost, the sarcophagus
is falling apart and is very possibly leaking radiation again.
The Russian authorities are now planning to outdo themselves
and build "the mother of all concrete shelters" over
the old one with the hope that this (might) be the last one
they have to build.
The problem with encasing Fukushima in concrete
is that the facility is much larger than Chernobyl was. And
authorities would have to build several concrete shelters to
cover the damaged facility. Fukushima doesn't just have one
reactor, it has six.
While Japanese authorities have discussed the
idea of encasing the entire Fukushima facility in concrete like
Chernobyl, they also understand that concrete shelters do not
heal damaged nuclear reactors that have melt down and are emitting
radiation. They only hide them and leave them for future generations
to worry about.
These are some examples of concrete shelters built
to contain nuclear radiation from getting out. Other, smaller,
concrete shelters and bunkers for personal use are built so
that radiation does not get in.