Chernobyl, 30 years of satellite observation

From SPOT 1 to Pléiades, considerable activity has been observed around reactor no. 4

10 days after the explosion of reactor no. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Spot 1 satellite acquired an image of a now radioactive area, on the other side of the Iron Curtain. This image demonstrated the value of Earth observation satellite imageryhelping to managing and prevent natural and industrial hazards.

For 30 years, increasingly sophisticated satellites have monitored the activities around reactor no. 4. Activities including: site clearance, construction of new access roads, a train terminal station for on-site workers, along with the shutdown of the other reactors has been regularly monitored using SPOT satellite images. The sarcophagus installation work is currently being monitored by Pléiades.

SPOT 1 - Chernobyl first image 1986

Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine
SPOT 1 image of 5th May 1986

The four 1000 megawatt RBMK type reactors are lined up in pairs. Reactor no. 4 is furthest to the west. It was commissioned in 1984 and exploded on 26th April 1986. The trail of rubble from the explosion can be seen running 400 metres to the south-west.

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Pléiades - Chernobyl 2016

Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine
Pleiades image of 27th March 2016

The construction of the sarcophagus, which will be used to cap reactor no. 4, is being monitored by Pléiades in very high resolution. At the end of 2016 the arch structure will be moved on rails from its construction site to sit over the top of the reactor.

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Chernobyl, 30 years of satellite observation