Several forest fires around Chernobyl nuclear plant.
Image Credit: Thomson Reuters
Ukrainian authorities have just revealed that at least seven forest fires have been spotted around the Chernobyl nuclear plant posing a threat to the reactor. Ukraine claimed that the presence of Russian troops in Chernobyl and its surroundings is hampering its efforts to extinguish the fire.
Ukraine said that the fires might have been started on purpose by Russian forces, but it is not yet clear how the fire started. It could have been arson as claimed by Ukraine, shelling and other factors.
The fire, if it reaches the Chernobyl nuclear reactor might result in a disaster as there is still 200 tonnes of fuel at the bottom of the crippled reactor and is unprotected.
Ukraine state-run nuclear company said that these fire pose a serious threat to the reactor. If the fire reaches the reactor it might result in a increased release of radioactivity which might affect Europe.
There is no data on the current state of radiation pollution of the exclusion zone’s environment, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats. Radiation levels in the exclusion zone and beyond, including not only Ukraine, but also other countries, could significantly worsenEnergoatom, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company.
The fires are more than 10km away from the nuclear plant but within 10km is considered to be ‘particularly dangerous’ according to a statement released by Ukraine.