The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear reactors are a military TARGET, as Ukraine crisis shows

flag-UkraineWhy Ukraine’s nuclear power plant crisis has far-reaching ramifications, Adelaide Advertiser, Jim Green , 22 April 14  IT seems likely that Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power reactors will continue operating throughout the unfolding political crisis, and that there will be no attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear plants despite reported threats. Nonetheless the crisis has wideranging nuclear dimensions and ramifications.

Perhaps the most important is that the nuclear security threats draw attention to a question that may, sooner or later, seal the fate of nuclear power: what happens when nuclear-powered nations go to war? Continue operating power reactors and hope that they will not be attacked?

It’s a huge dilemma. There’s no dispute that most nation-states have the military wherewithal to destroy reactors, resulting in widespread radioactive fallout. But for countries such as Ukraine, with a heavy reliance on nuclear power for electricity supply, shutting down reactors would also be highly problematic.

There is a history of nation-states attacking ostensibly peaceful nuclear facilities, such as the destruction of research reactors in Iraq by Israel and the US.

Ukraine’s 15 power reactors are spread across four sites. Nuclear power supplied 44 per cent of Ukraine’s electricity last year – that heavy dependence presumably explains the decision to continue operating reactors despite security concerns.

Protesters seized the headquarters of Ukraine’s energy ministry on January 25, but left hours later. Eduard Stavitskiy, Ukraine’s then energy minister, reportedly said all the country’s nuclear power facilities were put on high alert after the seizure.

In late January, Ukraine’s Security Service reported “anonymous threats to blow up hydropower and nuclear power plants, damage to which may have unforeseen and extremely serious consequences for the population of Ukraine and neighbouring states.” On March 2, Ukraine’s parliament called for international assistance to protect its nuclear power plants……..

April 23, 2014 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The dangerous myth of “Chernobyl wild paradise”

highly-recommendedDecay takes a holiday: the wickedness beneath the “Chernobyl wild paradise” myth and the rotten implications for ecosystems and radiation science 21 April 14 

Zombie forest?

April 26, 2014 will mark 28 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded causing an unprecedented nuclear catastrophe. In a creepy revelation, the forests around Chernobyl are having difficulty decomposing. A recently published study indicates that forest matter in the contaminated areas around Chernobyl is taking years or even decades longer to decay than it should. In the areas with low radiation, 70 to 90 percent of the leaves were gone after a year. Where radiation levels were higher, “leaves retained around 60 percent of their original weight…”(Smithsonian.comThis indicates a fundamental disruption to the natural cycle of death feeding life, and calls into question the forest’s longer-term viability. Creatures responsible for decay such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects, are essential components of any ecosystem because they recycle organic material back into the soil. Unfortunately, they do not function properly in the areas around Chernobyl, leaving a forest full of “petrified-looking pine trees that no longer seem capable of rotting.” GIZMODO



Radiation’s effect on decay processes should be expected, considering how it impacts microbes in food; or considering the results of a bizarre, cavalier and extremely ill-advised series of experiments performed using a “naked reactor” in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. These experiments intentionally irradiated a number of varying materials and forest land 40 miles north of Atlanta, GA. Wood subjected to this radiation was produced in small-scale and called “Lockwood”, for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation who operated the Georgia Nuclear Laboratory. The building and land is still contaminated with radionuclides.

The lack of decomposer activity has researchers worried that nutrients which trees require for grow are not being recycled, causing trees in the area to grow more slowly.  Improper plant decay has potential implications for animal decay as well, although there do not appear to be any Chernobyl studies investigating this yet.

Actual in-the-field examinations of regions contaminated by radioactivity from Chernobyl also reveal evidence for increased mutation rates, abnormal sperm with reduced swimming ability, developmental abnormalities, cataractstumors, smaller brains in both birds and mammals, and decreased tree growth rates, a finding of fundamental importance for ecosystem functioning that likely relates to effects on the microbial community. Fewer spiders and insects including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Animals and plants show other impacts of radiation after the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the US and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who collaborated on many of these studies, contends that, fundamentally, this evidence indicates  low-dose rate exposures cause significant measurable impacts for the biota inhabiting contaminated regions of Chernobyl. Further, this evidence supports a hypothesis that suggests effects down to very low levels.  Further implications for Fukushima should not be ignored.

Humans and animals alike: healthy looking on the outside, disintegrating on the inside

Referencing studies summarized in his book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexey Yablokov states:

“Wildlife in the heavily contaminated Chernobyl zone sometimes appears to flourish, but the appearance is deceptive,” says Yablokov. “Levels of incorporated radionuclides remain dangerously high for mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. Long-term observations of both wild and experimental animal populations in the heavily contaminated areas show significant increases in morbidity and mortality that bear a striking resemblance to changes in the health of humans – increased occurrence of tumours and immuno­deficiencies, decreased life expectancy, early aging, changes in blood and the circulatory system, malformations, and other factors that compromise health.

“All of the populations of plants, fishes, amphibians and mammals studied there are in poor condition,” he continues. “This zone is analogous to a ‘black hole’, in which there is accelerated genetic degeneration of large animals – some species may only persist there via immigration from uncontaminated areas. The Chernobyl zone is a micro-evolutionary ‘boiler’, where gene pools of living creatures are actively transforming, with unpredictable consequences. We ignore these findings at our peril.”

Dr. Yablokov’s statement deftly presents the dichotomy between what is observed by a dilettante’s eye – such as lots of members in a wild animal population — versus what is actually happening to these members over time. What is happening to this wildlife has parallel implications for human health.

So where did this “paradise for wildlife” and “biodiversity sanctuary” myth come from? In 2006 the International Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear power promoter and a member body of the United Nations, released a report entitled Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience. This report references the creation of a nature preserve within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and remarks Without a permanent residence of humans for 20 years, the ecosystems around the Chernobyl site are now flourishing. The CEZ has become a wildlife sanctuary…, and it looks like the nature park it has become.” From another report: “Indeed, the Exclusion Zone has paradoxically become a unique sanctuary for biodiversity.”

The Chernobyl Forum coalition makes this statement in support of “unique biodiversity” in spite of their recognition that “Genetic effects of radiation, in both somatic and germ cells, have been observed in plants and animals of the Exclusion Zone during the first few years after the Chernobyl accident. Both in the Exclusion Zone, and beyond, different cytogenetic anomalies attributable to radiation continue to be reported from experimental studies performed on plants and animals.” They conclude, however, “[w]hether the observed cytogenetic anomalies in somatic cells have any detrimental biological significance is not known.” In order to know this, one has to actually look.

The study summaries compiled by Alexey Yablokov, et al. (studies which had been mostly unavailable in the west until 2009) and the published examinations of researchers Mousseau, et al., indicate rather strongly that there is significant biological detriment to wildlife in the contaminated areas surrounding Chernobyl. And unlike these studies, the Chernobyl Forum documents provide very few references (under ten total) for any claims they make regarding the flourishing of wildlife.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Belarus, environment, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Renewable energy – Ukraine’s road to energy independence

renewable_energyflag-UkraineRenewables seen as Ukraine’s road to energy independence from Russia April 18, 2014  As a way of becoming less reliant on Russian conventional energy Ukraine is talking to US investors who want to put money into alternative energy like wind and solar.

Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine indeed brought energy security concerns to the fore,” as Bloomberg quotes Olexander Motsyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US said at a renewable-energy conference in Washington on Thursday. “I strongly believe the time has come for US investors to discover Ukraine, especially its energy.

To get away from Russian natural gas as the primary source for heat and electric power, Ukraine seeks wants to invest in biomass heat plants, wind and solar power.

US and European officials have been trying to find ways to help Ukraine limit its dependence, including the possibility of US approval to export liquefied natural gas.

Vadym Glamazdin, the managing director of the Energy Industry Research Center (EIRC) suggests heating in Ukraine accounts for about 40 percent of all gas imported from Russia. This could be replaced with renewable energy within three to five years.

According to his words by 2030, renewables could account for about 15 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply, currently it is only 2 percent.

The EIRC research shows that the most likely and adoptable form of renewable energy for Ukraine are biomass and biogas, as the nation’s network of electric-power lines and substations can’t easily adjust to the addition of significant amounts of wind and solar energy.

The resources are there,” now the major challenge is to attract investment, Todd Foley, a senior vice president for policy and government relations at the American Council on Renewable Energy said.

One biomass plant could replace 24,000 natural gas boilers EIRC officials said.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

West now keen to market nuclear fuel to Ukraine

flag-UkraineWestinghouse, Ukraine Near Deal on Nuclear Fuel for Reactors Extension of Contract Could Also Lessen Reliance of Other Former Communist States on Russia WSJ, By  SEAN
Buy-US-nukesCARNEY  April 3, 2014 
The United States and Ukraine are on the verge of deepening their ties in nuclear energy while lessening the influence of Russia on the former Soviet state’s economy and geopolitical orientation.

Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse Electric Co. on Thursday said it’s in negotiations to extend its contract with Ukraine’s Energoatom and supply nuclear fuel for three reactors, a deal that would bolster Ukraine’s commitment to long-term cooperation with the West.

“Westinghouse is currently in discussions with Energoatom to agree on an amended fuel supply contract,” Westinghouse spokesman Hans Korteweg said.

Ilona Zayets, spokeswoman for state-owned Energoatom, said the two sides were in final negotiations on the deal and added that Energoatom hopes to sign the contract next week……….

The nuclear contract being negotiated would renew and extend for an unspecified number of years an existing fuel contract between Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp, and Ukraine’s state-owned Energoatom. ……..

A senior Westinghouse official late last year said the fuel deal is worth roughly $100 million for a five-year supply and that a renewal of the Ukraine supply contract was essential for the company in keeping its Swedish fuel processing plant in operation.

The Swedish plant is the sole non-Russian facility globally that produces fuel for use in Russian-designed reactors used in EU countries, and it is a crucial outpost as the West aims to check Russian influence in Europe’s eastern regions.

If the deal goes through as expected, it would also provide the Czech Republic and Bulgaria—which both have Russian VVER 1000-type reactors—with an alternative supplier of nuclear fuel in years to come.

Russia’s state-owned Rosatom and Westinghouse are the only producers of fuel for this reactor type.

Czech utility CEZ AS early in the last decade used Westinghouse fuel but later switched to Russian-made fuel.

Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, which is the primary nuclear fuel supplier to Ukraine as well as most post-communist countries in Europe that use Russian VVER-type reactors, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

April 4, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, Uranium | Leave a comment

Thanks to Putin, the Pentagon can push their case for new nuclear weapons

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-UkraineUkraine Fallout: Putin Hands The Pentagon A Rationale For New Nuclear Weapons Loren Thompson, Forbes 20 Mar 14 There’s a plausible case to be made that Russia’s reabsorption of Crimea after 60 years of being attached to the Ukraine isn’t all that important, and the West is over-reacting.  Well don’t expect to find anybody in Washington pushing that view.  Today’s Washington Post features a lead editorial entitled, “A Dangerous Russian Doctrine,” and all four essays on the op-ed page explore the ominous implications of what Vladimir Putin has done.  The persistent drumbeat of disquieting coverage and commentary about Ukraine reminds me of a term I used often when I taught nuclear strategy at Georgetown — overkill.

 The North Atlantic Alliance isn’t likely to do anything direct or meaningful about Putin’s fait accompli, but the wheels are already turning within defense ministries and military think tanks about what indirect steps might be taken to deter further adventurism by Moscow.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this debate will end up in Washington: the delicate balance of terror — the nuclear balance — is back on the table as an active concern.  Why?  Because the White House was already reorienting (no pun intended) America’s military posture to East Asia, where both of our prospective adversaries possess atomic weapons, and now the world’s other nuclear superpower, Russia, has muscled its way back into U.S. military calculations.

As chance would have it, this strategic shift occurs at precisely the moment when modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal has become a major issue among military planners. ……..   The Pentagon has plans for developing new subs and bombers before the current arsenal has to be retired, but funding is problematic — particularly with spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Although President Obama has not interfered with these plans, he has been more focused on arms control as a solution to the nation’s nuclear security.  …….

it  is inevitable that Pentagon officials will use the Ukraine crisis to build political support for their nuclear plans.  ……….

  Many people in Washington might have been prepared to forego spending money on a new generation of nuclear weapons before Putin made his move, but he has now changed the strategic calculation.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The surreal problem of Chernobyl’s forests not decaying properly

Chernobyl-forest-14The Woods Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying 19 Mar 14, Like a landscape of the undead, the woods outside Chernobyl are having trouble decomposing. The catastrophic meltdown and ensuing radiation blast of April 1986 has had long-term effects on the very soil and ground cover of the forested region, essentially leaving the dead trees and leaf litter unable to decompose. The result is a forest full of “petrified-looking pine trees” that no longer seem capable of rotting. Indeed, Smithsonian reports, “decomposers — organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay — have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil.”

All of that now has been slowed way down, as explored in a new study led by University of South Carolina biologist Timothy Mousseau, just published in Oecologica.Mouseeau and his colleagues explain that they would normally expect to see between 70 per cent and 90 per cent loss of dead plant matter over the course of a year as the discarded leaves and branches are consumed by local microbes; however, at the various test points they established throughout the Chernobyl forested region, the sampled vegetation had lost less than 40 per cent over the same time frame.

This means the woods are decaying approximately twice as slowly, stretching out their wildfire-nukeperiod of decay for years, if not decades, and, in the process, piling up fuel for future forest fires.

As Smithsonian also mentions, this is perhaps the most worrisome aspect of all of this, and all the more reason to be concerned about the radioactive side-effects of such a fire: “Other studies have found that the Chernobyl area is at risk of fire, and 27 years’ worth of leaf litter, Mousseau and his colleagues think, would likely make a good fuel source for such a forest fire. This poses a more worrying problem than just environmental destruction: Fires can potentially redistribute radioactive contaminants to places outside of the exclusion zone, Mousseau says. ‘There is growing concern that there could be a catastrophic fire in the coming years,’ he says.”

Either way, there is something immensely surreal in this dream-like vision of a dead forest that simply cannot decay, its branches lifeless yet ever-present, petrified or fossilized in place, its carpet of leaves always growing deeper and seeming to never go away.

March 19, 2014 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine crisis could lead to a ‘nuclear impasse’

 “It is extraordinarily irresponsible to jump on the bandwagon of this dangerous regional crisis and make Ukrainians feel that they were wrong to rid their newly independent country of nuclear weapons in 1992 and join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states,” 

flag-UkraineUS -Russia standoff over Ukraine may trigger nuclear attack UNITED NATIONS: The US-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, which is threatening to undermine current bilateral talks on North Korea, Iran, Syria and Palestine, is also in danger of triggering a nuclear fallout., The International News, 17 MAr 14, 

 Secretary of State John Kerry told US legislators early this week that if the dispute results in punitive sanctions against Russia, things could “get ugly fast” and go “in multiple directions. ”Perhaps one such direction could lead to a nuclear impasse between the two big powers. Continue reading

March 18, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Highly dangerous and super expensive work to cover Chernobyl nuclear reactor

Workers can only spend a few hours at the reactor site before they reach the maximum radioactive exposure limit, and work is thus progressing at a snail’s pace

Despite the incredible lengths required to build the structure, it’s still only a band-aid


This Massive Steel Structure Will Entomb Chernobyl’s Reactor 4  (GREAT PHOTOS) KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN 30 NOVEMBER 2013 When an unexpected power surge sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in Chernobyl, nearly a quarter of a million construction workers risked their lives to build an ad hoc “sarcophagus” of concrete around the stricken reactor. It was a stop-gap measure — and now, almost 30 years later, one of the biggest engineering projects in history is underway to protect it.

The BBC reports on the $US2 billion project to protect the decaying metal sarcophagus, using an even larger metal shield called the New Safe Confinement, or NSC. In simple terms, the NSC is a massive steel archway that is designed to protect the surrounding region if the 27-year-old sarcophagus eventually collapses. Continue reading

December 2, 2013 Posted by | Reference, safety, Ukraine | 3 Comments

Smaller brains: effect of Chernobyl radiation on birds

text ionisingChernobyl Birds Have Smaller Brains PLOS 1 Anders Pape Møller mail, Andea Bonisoli-Alquati, Geir Rudolfsen, Timothy A. Mousseau   Abstract


Animals living in areas contaminated by radioactive material from Chernobyl suffer from increased oxidative stress and low levels of antioxidants. Therefore, normal development of the nervous system is jeopardized as reflected by high frequencies of developmental errors, reduced brain size and impaired cognitive abilities in humans. Alternatively, associations between psychological effects and radiation have been attributed to post-traumatic stress in humans.

Methodology/Principal Finding

Here we used an extensive sample of 550 birds belonging to 48 species to test the prediction that even in the absence of post-traumatic stress, there is a negative association between relative brain size and level of background radiation. We found a negative association between brain size as reflected by external head volume and level of background radiation, independent of structural body size and body mass. The observed reduction in brain size in relation to background radiation amounted to 5% across the range of almost a factor 5,000 in radiation level. Species differed significantly in reduction in brain size with increasing background radiation, and brain size was the only morphological character that showed a negative relationship with radiation. Brain size was significantly smaller in yearlings than in older individuals.


Low dose radiation can have significant effects on normal brain development as reflected by brain size and therefore potentially cognitive ability. The fact that brain size was smaller in yearlings than in older individuals implies that there was significant directional selection on brain size with individuals with larger brains experiencing a viability advantage……..

November 12, 2013 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Cataracts in the eyes of birds in Chernobyl and Fukushima

 the key factor determining the presence of the disease was the intensity of local radiation, with cataract scores of over one proving to be far more common in areas that were above ten microseiverts per hour

Birds live with cataracts in Chernobyl The Economist, Sep 7th 2013 CATARACTS are relatively common in people who live to a ripe old age. They are sometimes seen in animals that live in zoos as well, but in the wild they are almost unheard of. The reason is simple. Losing eyesight is in effect a death sentence for a wild animal that must find its own food and, should that animal live long enough to develop the disease, starvation or predation would quickly follow|cataracts unrelated to age are surprisingly common in birds living near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

This is revealed in a new study by a pair of ornithologists, Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina and Anders Moller of the University of Paris-Sud, which is published in the Public Library of Science. That cataracts and ionising radiation are related is well known. As high energy ions, usually produced by the sun’s rays, slam into the water found next to the lenses of the eyes, free radicals are created that damage DNA and cause errors to develop in the formation of proteins that make up the lenses, resulting in cataracts.

This led the researchers to suspect that cataracts in birds might be common in areas where there are high levels of ionising radiation, and they turned to Chernobyl as a study area. Continue reading

September 6, 2013 Posted by | environment, Japan, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Lengthy, expensive process of new tomb for Chernobyl’s shattered nuclear reactor

flag-UkraineChernobyl copes with nuclear fallout a quarter-century on, Global Post Jakub Parusinski February 25, 2013  As a new structure around the destroyed nuclear reactor goes up, life for locals remains blighted. The so-called exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was once home to some 120,000 people, who were evacuated following the reactor meltdown at in 1986. Trees that sprouted in living rooms are now pushing through rooftops inside this highly contaminated, sealed off area, while wild horses and wolves roam the woods.

However, there are also some 7,000 people working here, including almost 3,000 at the plant itself.

An international fund managed by theEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development is spending an estimated $2 billion to build a new confinement shelter to protect the world from Chernobyl’s radioactivity for the next 100 years……

chernobyl_cover 2013

Built by a French-led consortium, the 360-foot giant hangar-like casing is being constructed with modern equipment on infrastructure that’s better maintained than in the capital Kyiv, 70 miles to the south. While hundreds in the Ukrainian capital injure themselves every day slipping on ice-covered sidewalks, roads in the exclusion zone are swept clean for a stream of cement trucks….. Completion of the reactor confinement structure, set for 2015, will calm longstanding fears about a collapse of the current sarcophagus. Those living around the zone face a less certain future. …

August 16, 2013 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl’s trees show radiation damage

text-radiationChernobyl’s legacy recorded in trees By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News Exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl accident had a lasting negative legacy on the area’s trees, a study has suggested.

Researchers said the worst effects were recorded in the “first few years” but surviving trees were left vulnerable to environmental stress, such as drought.

They added that young trees appeared to be particularly affected.

Writing in the journal Trees, the team said it was the first study to look at the impact at a landscape scale.

“Our field results were consistent with previous findings that were based on much smaller sample sizes,” explained co-author Tim Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US.

“They are also consistent with the many reports of genetic impacts to these trees,” he told BBC News.

“Many of the trees show highly abnormal growth forms reflecting the effects of mutations and cell death resulting from radiation exposure.”…… Prof Mousseau and his team hope to follow up this study by carrying out similar work in the Fukushima region in Japan, where logging also had considerable economic importance and pine trees were widely dispersed.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Climate change increases Chernobyl’s risk of radioactive wildfires

Women in their 20s living just outside the zone face the highest risk from exposure to radioactive smoke, the 2011 study found: 170 in 100,000 would have an increased chance of dying of cancer. Among men farther away in Kiev, 18 in 100,000 20 year olds would be at increased risk of dying of cancer.

the greatest danger from forest fire for most people would be consuming foods exposed to smoke. Milk, meat and other products would exceed safe levels, the 2011 study predicts. The Ukrainian government would almost certainly have to ban consumption of foodstuffs produced as far as 150 kilometres from the fire

wildfire-nukeWatching for a radioactive forest fire  JANE BRAXTON LITTLE, ABC Environment 8 JUL 2013  Tinder dry and radioactive: the forests around Chernobyl are an accident waiting to happen. For 27 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements. A fire would send them skyward again – a growing concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier. “…….Nikolay Ossienko patrols the forests surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,,,,,,, “Our number one job is to save the forest from fire,”…… It’s a job with international consequences.

For almost three decades the forests around the shuttered nuclear power plant have been absorbing contamination left from the 1986 reactor explosion. Now climate change and lack of management present a troubling predicament: If these forests burn, strontium 90, cesium 137, plutonium 238 and other radioactive elements would be released, according to an analysis of the human health impacts of wildfire in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone conducted by scientists in Germany, Scotland, Ukraine and the United States. Continue reading

July 12, 2013 Posted by | climate change, Reference, safety, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Radiation stored in forests of Chernobyl: the fire danger

text ionising27 Years Later, Radiation Still Hides Out in Chernobyl’s Trees (Fukushima’s Too) The April 26, 1986, meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power flag-UkrainePlant scattered radioactive material across 58,000 square miles of eastern Europe. In a ring 18 miles from the destroyed plant, authorities set up the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone—a place where no one is supposed to live (though of course some do.) Scientific American has the story of how, though the disaster took place decades ago, radiation persists in a huge area around the defunct power plant—ready to be re-released to the environment. 30 June 13

In the forests around Chernobyl, the trees have absorbed some of the radioactive fall-out. Washed from the air by the rain, radionuclides are taken up by trees and stored for long periods. The worry, says Scientific American, is that a forest fire could loose this radiation back to the environment.

For almost three decades the forests around the shuttered nuclear power plant have been absorbing contamination left from the 1986 reactor explosion. Now climate change and lack of management present a troubling predicament: If these forests burn, strontium 90, cesium 137, plutonium 238 and other radioactive elements would be released, according to an analysis of the human health impacts of wildfire in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone conducted by scientists in Germany, Scotland, Ukraine and the United States. Continue reading

July 1, 2013 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

27 years later, Chernobyl still leaking radiation, still dangerous

chernobylChornobyl, 27 years later, still dangerous April 26, 2013,   Ukraine — by Katya GorchinskayaSvitlana Tuchynska CHORNOBYL, Ukraine – A turbine hall adjoining Chornobyl’s destroyed fourth reactor has a gaping 600-square meter opening where the roof collapsed in February. The roof has not been fixed yet, letting in rainwater that mingles with radioactive dust and elements inside and oozes out.

April 26, 2013 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment


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