Chornobyl Town

7. The Roof Robots


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One of the difficult problems the Soviets faced was that before they could start to build the concrete sarcophagus to contain the failed reactor Chernobyl 4, there was a lot of radioactive debris on the roof on Chernobyl 3 which is part of the same building. They had to get that debris down from the roof. But since the surroundings were so highly radioactive, they could not send people up there. Instead they sent up machines which they tried to control remotely. Unfortunately, the machines took a toll from the radioactivity and they started to fail. Some of these robots are displayed here. (In the end, the machines were replaced with "bio-robots", that is humans. Dressed in 26 kg of protective clothing each man went up on the roof to throw down a few shovels before they returned. Calculations had shown if they stayed there for at most a minute, the dose of radiation would not be critical.)