Why does Chernobyl’s MegaTomb feel flawed?


Whether it’s true or not, that public broadcasting may end up one of President Trump’s many victims, is a moot point. I still enjoy the channel and have been watching the Nova series since I was a child. Sometimes I’ve questioned what I see, but like everything on television for me, if I have no intention of using it as a source, I also have no initiative to verify what I’m listening to.

But this one has me wondering just how real the logic behind the feat is. This episode is about a sarcophagus or tomb that was built to cover Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor, as the hastily constructed one from decades ago is deteriorating, and there is or was a high danger of even more radioactive contamination. The need for this new structure is evident and necessary that I do not question.

The technology used to build it and then move it is impressive and a testament to what countries who work together can accomplish when they choose to. Because of the high level of radiation over the reactor people cannot work there for more than a few minutes at a time, something this structure also took into consideration. It has robotic cranes to deconstruct the decaying structure and radioactive material. The builders considered the harsh environment and built the internal framework inside a humidity controlled area to prevent rust. The newest and strongest materials were used. It is an engineering marvel, indeed. It has been guaranteed to stand for 100 years, serving the dual purpose of deconstruction and protection.

But I don’t believe that’s possible. I have a philosophy that has been proven correct many times over. Humans are innately flawed. That is not said to be crass or insensitive, but an observation. We, as a species, are flawed. Even the most brilliant minds have flaws. Some flaws are large, some are small, some are noticeable, some are known only to the individual — but in the end, humans are innately flawed. Everything we construct, build, create, form, or interact with inherits human flaws because it is part of who we are. 
The second problem that I see is that every mechanical device on this planet is subjected to environmental conditions, friction, and gravity.

Yes, this structure took into consideration the weather, but not the toll that friction and gravity will have on moving parts that will have no one coming to lubricate or replace them. Every building that has HVAC must be maintained. Seals break, bearings go out — and with the radiation level, who’s going to go in there, risking his or her life, to fix the broken parts?

I don’t know. It just felt that while a lot of thought was given to how to make the best building to replace the old one, no one considered that sooner or later, someone will have to go inside to fix all these moving parts. Someone will have to risk their lives to keep the rest of the world safe.

Yet, at the same time, what is the alternative solution?