Vinci Construction Recall The Ultimate Challenge 10 Years Ago - Time Lapse video – Heavy Lift News
22 Mar 2021

Vinci Construction Recall The Ultimate Challenge 10 Years Ago – Time Lapse video

Ten years ago, construction works began on a gigantic arch-shaped structure to confine Chernobyl power plant’s reactor number 4, which was damaged in an explosion in 1986. Here’s more about a once-in-a-lifetime project that showcases VINCI Construction’s wealth of expertise.

It all started on….

  • 26 April 1986 / Reactor number 4 at Chernobyl nuclear plant explodes.
  • 1992 / Ukraine launches a design contest for a shelter to confine the nuclear reactor and minimise all potential risk. Resolution, a European consortium led by Campenon Bernard SGE, wins the contest. The works are entrusted to Novarka, a consortium incorporating VINCI Construction Grands Projets (leader) and Bouygues Travaux Publics.
  • 2010 / Works begin, led by VINCI Construction Grands Projets. The confinement arch is designed to protect dismantling work on the former sarcophagus and reactor ruins, while maximising protection for workers on site.
  • 2016 / The arch is built in an area next to the reactor to protect teams from radiations. In November 2016, the arch was skidded 327 metres to cover the damaged reactor building, thanks to a special skidding system composed of 224 hydraulic cylinders. It took 40 hours, spread over 5 days, to complete this operation. It is the largest land mobile structure built to date.
  • 2017 / Work is completed, and the arch is handed over to confine, sort and stock short-lived waste, and stockpile radioactive waste.
  • 2019 / Delivery of the project. This is the end of 12 years of extraordinary construction work under atypical conditions. More than 10,000 NOVARKA workers and technicians took turns working 33 million hours to complete the construction of the containment building for the damaged Number 4 reactor.

Patrick Kadri, Executive Director of VINCI Construction in charge of the Major Projects Division:  “We faced a blank sheet and had just won a conceptual competition. It took a lot of audacity, vision, and a fair amount of madness to embark on this project! The challenges were monumental: to design a state-of- the-art prototype in an extremely constraining environment, constantly pushing against the limits of know-how, striving to secure the cooperation and endorsement of all the stakeholders worldwide, inventing materials that did not exist and unique construction methods. This project is a major part of our working lives. And we are all aware of the environmental progress that this achievement represents for Ukraine, its neighbouring countries and the whole of Europe.”

Time Lapse Video of the skidding operation.


Vinci Construction


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