Raging forest infernos in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are now ‘close’ to exploded nuclear reactor

Raging forest infernos in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone burning for eight days are now ‘close’ to exploded nuclear reactor amid new fears of radiation contamination

  • Wildfires burning through Chernobyl forests are nearing the nuclear reactor
  • There are fears that flames could reach radioactive trucks and vehicles abandoned after the notorious 1986 power station explosion
  • Kiev has deployed more than 300 people and 85 pieces of equipment

Wildfires burning through radioactive forests in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are getting ever closer to the exploded nuclear reactor. 

Firefighters are rushing to build firebreaks around the sarcophagus covering the ruined plant in Ukraine amid swirling winds.

There are fears that flames could reach abandoned trucks and other vehicles contaminated from the disastrous 1986 explosion. 

An extraordinary video from firefighter Andrei Kukib shows an emergency vehicle driving through the raging fire and smoke laying waste to the polluted ‘dead zone’. 

Fires have been blazing for nine days in the almost uninhabited 1,000-square-mile exclusion zone surrounding the disused plant. 

Wildfires burning through radioactive forests in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (pictured) are getting ever closer to the abandoned nuclear reactor which exploded in 1986

Wildfires burning through radioactive forests in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (pictured) are getting ever closer to the abandoned nuclear reactor which exploded in 1986

The State Agency for Management of the Exclusion Zone has ordered in three Antonov planes and two MI-8 helicopters which have air dropped 250 tonnes of water (pictured)

The State Agency for Management of the Exclusion Zone has ordered in three Antonov planes and two MI-8 helicopters which have air dropped 250 tonnes of water (pictured)

On Tuesday, the fire covered some 87 acres, having tripled in size due to strong winds, the emergencies service said in a statement.  

There are fears of radiation in the ground unleashed by the infernos can reach nearest city Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and other populated areas.

This could be worse if the flames reach the Chernobyl reactors. 

Kateryna Pavlova, a senior official involved in the firefighting, said: ‘We have been working all night digging firebreaks around the plant to protect it from fire.’

She told The New York Times: ‘At the moment, we cannot say the fire is contained.’

More than 300 people and 85 pieces of equipment have been deployed daily in the fight to extinguish the flames which comes as Ukraine – one of Europe’s poorest countries – is also battling against coronavirus.

More than 300 people and 85 pieces of equipment have been deployed daily in the fight to extinguish the flames (pictured, exhausted firefighters resting after battling the fires)

More than 300 people and 85 pieces of equipment have been deployed daily in the fight to extinguish the flames (pictured, exhausted firefighters resting after battling the fires)

Firefighters are rushing to build firebreaks around the sarcophagus covering the ruined plant in Ukraine amid swirling winds (pictured, spreading wildfires)

Firefighters are rushing to build firebreaks around the sarcophagus covering the ruined plant in Ukraine amid swirling winds (pictured, spreading wildfires)

The State Agency for Management of the Exclusion Zone – which Pavlova heads – has ordered in three Antonov planes (AN-32P) and two MI-8 helicopters which have air dropped more than 250 tonnes of water in the wildfires.  

Police said the blaze broke out after a man set fire to dry grass near the exclusion zone. The man was detained by Ukrainian police.  

Ukrainian authorities rejected the warnings of the acting head of the country’s state ecological inspection service, Yehor Firsov, who withdrew remarks made this week that ‘radioactivity is higher than normal at the heart of the blaze’.             

Initially covered up by the USSR, the 1986 explosion sent radioactive fallout across Europe exposing millions to dangerous levels of radiation. 

Ukrainian firefighters have been working for nine days trying to stop wildfires spreading

Ukrainian firefighters have been working for nine days trying to stop wildfires spreading

Firefigher and rescuer Andrei Kukib (pictured) has been working on extinguishing wildfires inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for four days already

Firefigher and rescuer Andrei Kukib (pictured) has been working on extinguishing wildfires inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for four days already

People are not allowed to live within 18 miles of the power station, which is some 62 miles north of Ukraine’s capital city Kiev.

The three other reactors at Chernobyl continued to generate electricity until the power station finally closed in 2000.

A giant protective dome was put in place over the fourth reactor in 2016.

Fires occur regularly in the forests near the Chernobyl power plant.

Advertisement

Source link

Add a Comment