Massive fire ‘dangerously close’ to Chernobyl plant: Just 3 miles from nuclear waste
from ENENews Official: “Risks are high” — Evacuations underway — Experts: “Smoke is heavily contaminated… could see dispersion of very significant component of original radiation”; “Capable of spreading great distances”
Reuters (emphasis added): Forest fire threatens Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear zone… Earlier, the interior ministry had warned that high winds were blowing the fire in northern Ukraine towards Chernobyl… international experts warned that a large amount of dangerous isotopes remained in the forests near Chernobyl, which could be spread by forest fires.
Interfax: Arson attack could be behind massive wildfire around Chornobyl… Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov… said that the forecast was positive. “But! It’s too important and risks are high… Therefore – maximum attention… There shouldn’t be any ground for fear and panic at the moment. Everything is under control.”
Bloomberg: Avakov said… “It got to 20 kilometers of the reactor and five kilometers from buried nuclear waste.”
FOCUS News Agency: The fire near Chernobyl NPP brought under control some five kilometres from the places of burial of radioactive waste, UNIAN reported…
ITV: Ukraine’s largest forest fire for 23 years is spreading rapidly – and travelling towards the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant… Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk insisted that “the situation is under control… serious forces… are being used to prevent fires from spreading.”
Interfax: Police evacuating people over fire not far from Chernobyl NPP — “At 1830 (1530 GMT) the situation with the forest fire around the Chernobyl plant escalated”. The National Guard and the Interior Ministry’s troops were also put on alert in case the fire worsened… The fire is described as the largest of its kind to hit Ukraine in more than two decades.
WSJ: Ukrainian emergency services have stopped the advance of a forest fire which was getting dangerously close to the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, officials said…
AP: Ukrainian officials warned Tuesday evening that the situation could be complicated by the strong winds blowing the fire in the direction of the plant…“Patrols have been stepped up. National Guard and Interior Ministry units have been placed on high alert,” [Avakov] said…
RT: Smoke from burning forests in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is capable of spreading contaminants across great distances, even after the fire has been stopped, ecology experts told RT… New hot spots were discovered [Wednesday], but they are outside the exclusion zone… [C]ontaminants could still be released and travel far and wide, borne aloft by the smoke, nuclear safety expert John H. Large told RT: “… fires were the greatest concern in terms of the means by which you can disperse a secondary radiological impact“… high temperatures and volumes of smoke produced in a forest fire can take contaminants hundreds of kilometers away… “Radiation really doesn’t respect any international boundaries.”
Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Univ. of South Carolina: “The smoke is heading directly towards Minsk, Belarus… Clearly you would not want to be downwind in the main plume… this smoke is heavily contaminated… The simulations that our group undertook last year indicated that previous forest fires in the area had re-released, re-dispersed about eight percent of the radiation from the original catastrophe. Certainly the fire that we’re seeing today seems to be on a much larger scale. So we could see a re-dispersion of a very significant component of the original radiation.”