Ceram Expertise Helps Usher In a Century of Safety at Chernobyl

27th of April, 2012 Bookmark and Share

STAFFORDSHIRE materials technology company Ceram has completed testing on metal cladding being used to stop radiation leaking from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In April 1986, an explosion and fire at the Ukraine plant resulted in large volumes of radiation escaping and contaminating extensive parts of the USSR and Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated and resettled from the worst affected areas, while the catastrophe is expected to lead to thousands of cancer deaths.

Shortly after the accident, a protective shell – or sarcophagus – was built to contain the radiation, but this is starting to deteriorate.

A new sarcophagus called the New Safe Confinement has been designed, and Ceram has been carrying out tests to make sure it will withstand the rigours of the Ukranian climate and contain radiation for a century.

Testing has included dropping 25kg balls of ice on to roof sections and using air bags to simulate tornado-force side winds.

The new structure, which is made of specialist stainless steel, has been in design for the last 10 years, and Ceram has been analysing performance for more than two years.

Tony Kinsella, chief executive at the Penkhull business, said: “The implications of the design failing are extremely serious.

“There are still very high levels of radiation at the plant, and any escapes put people working on remediation projects at risk. It would also harm the surrounding environment further.

“We’re extremely proud to be involved in such an essential project, and we’re also proud that Ceram is helping Stoke-on-Trent become known as a world centre for materials expertise.”

The New Safe Confinement, which is on rails so it can slide in and out of position, is due to be completed in 2015.

It will weigh 29,000 tonnes and at its highest point it will be more than 100 metres.


About Ceram

Ceram is an independent, international materials technology company that focuses on innovation, sustainability and quality assurance of materials.

Headquartered in Staffordshire, UK, and with approved laboratories around the world, Ceram solves product and process challenges across a range of materials to help clients improve performance, comply with regulations and develop their sustainability performance in order to gain a competitive advantage and increase profitability.

Ceram operates in a wide variety of sectors around the world.

Jo Foster
Press release issued by David Johnson, Shepherd PR. For more information, or to arrange an interview, please email david@shepherd-pr.com or call 01335 368020.