KIEV, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The new protective cover over the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear reactor No. 4 will be postponed from Nov. 2017 to May 2018, a senior official was quoted as saying by local media Wednesday.
According to Sergiy Deryuga, deputy director of New Safe Confinement project, the mission has been delayed because the contractor company Novarka was unable to complete the needed works in time.
The Chernobyl disaster, one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history, happened on April 26, 1986, when a series of explosions ripped through the plant, which is located 110 kilometers north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
The blasts resulted in the demolition of the No. 4 reactor and the spread of radiation across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other European countries.
To prevent further leakage of radiation, arch-shaped 110-meter-tall, 257-meter-wide and 164-meter-long metal sarcophagus was erected over the reactor in November 2016.
After being put into operation, the confinement will protect the environment from radiation spewing from the unit in the next century.