Chernobyl Forest Fires Rage for more than a Week, Radiation Pollution Possible
Forest fires in Chernobyl continue for more than a week, and nearly 400 firefighters are involved in their extinguishing, DPA reported.
Environmental experts fear that these fires could come in contact with radioactive ash on the ground and spread radioactive smoke to the capital Kiev, which is about 100 km south of Chernobyl.
The meltdown and explosion of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 are considered the worst nuclear disaster in human history.
The Ukrainian Emergency Service assures that radiation levels in the area of fires are within acceptable limits.
However radiation levels near the wildfires have risen, and the blazes have produced swirling smoke which is being blown towards neighbouring regions.
Winds had blown the smoke towards rural areas of Russia and nearby Belarus, but they shifted in the direction of Ukrainian capital Kiev over the weekend.
Authorities in Kiev, which has a population of about 3 million people, say radiation levels in the city remain normal, ABC News reported.
The extent of the fires is not reported. Over the weekend, authorities cited data from a few days ago that the fires cover a total area of 3,500 hectares.
When the fires broke out more than a week ago, senior environment ministry official said radiation in the Chernobyl area had exceeded 16 times.
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