September 24, 2022

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Ukraine says forest fires near the Russian-controlled Chernobyl nuclear plant are raising radiation fears

Ukraine says forest fires near the Russian-controlled Chernobyl nuclear plant are raising radiation fears

The update added that Ukrainian officials and firefighters could not carry out their usual duties in the region to extinguish the fires due to Russia’s control of the plant. He also warned that the fires were within a “10 kilometer radius.” [6.2 miles] Significant radioactive waste and contamination can pose a “special hazard”.

Nuclear experts said the fires could also threaten important power transmission lines, which were recently repaired. “The facilities themselves’ biggest weaknesses are energy losses,” said Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear energy safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Forest fires Occurred before Near the defunct power station, Mashhad 1986 disaster. Large amounts of radioactive material contaminated the ground around the Chernobyl nuclear site After the disaster, a nearby city was evacuated. Today, the “exclusion zone,” where radioactive contamination is highest, covers about 1,000 square miles around the plant.

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom said on Monday that Russia had seized the area It means crews can no longer monitor radiation levels there. She said the forest fire service was not able to operate under Russian control.

Energoatom said, “There is no data on the current state of radioactive contamination of the exclusion zone environment, which makes it impossible to respond adequately to the threats,” according to to Reuters. “Radiation levels in the exclusion zone and beyond, including not only Ukraine, but also other countries, can significantly worsen.”

Radiation levels in the region are within standards, Ukraine’s Minister of Natural Resources Ruslan Strelets said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

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IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi has been trying in vain to negotiate a “framework” that would allow IAEA experts access to all nuclear facilities in Ukraine “to help maintain the safety and security of sites”.

Scientists say Seasonal wildfires, which typically occur in the spring and summer, can release radiation that is trapped in the upper layers of soil around the nuclear site. The roots of the trees also absorbed radioactive cesium, Lyman said, which can be “liberated into a plume of smoke from the fires.”

Publishing a research from the Center for Security Studies last year It found that smoke from wildfires can carry radioactive materials, representing “a cause of international concern”.

The research found that “such wildfires produce dangerous, uncontainable, airborne smoke, potentially carrying radioactive materials.” “Given the half-lives of some radioactive isotopes, this problem will not go away in the lifetime of all living generations,” she added.

With the onset of climate change, the study said, “nuclear wildfires are an urgent but under-discussed problem” that requires urgent attention.

“Fires are getting more and more frequent because of dry weather,” said Kate Brown, professor of the history of science at MIT, adding that dry weather has been “grossly noticeable” over the past decade.

President Biden first confirmed Russia’s use of a hypersonic missile in its invasion of Ukraine at a Business Roundtable event on March 21 (White House)

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ international atomic energy agency, said on Monday, He said That the “long-awaited” rotation of technical personnel at the Chernobyl plant site It was completed, allowing staff to return home for the first time since the site was occupied by Russian forces last month.

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The Chernobyl area, one of the most radioactively polluted places in the world, has remained closed since 1986, although a few people still live in the area – mostly elderly Ukrainians who refused to evacuate or returned after the area was evacuated.

The building containing the explosive reactor from 1986 in 2017, was covered with a blanket formidable armor It is intended to contain the radiation that is still emitted by the plant. Robots inside the factory work to dismantle the destroyed reactor and collect radioactive waste. It is expected that it will take up to 2064 to complete dismantling the reactors safely.