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Chernobyl nuclear power plant gets special permission to run ‘hot’ tests with nuclear waste

Chornobyl nuclear power plant gets special permission to run ‘hot’ tests with nuclear waste  Source : 112 Ukraine, 9 Sept 20, 

The spent fuel will be soon transferred to new storage, as the old one’s operational life is expiring 
Chornobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) received special permission to run hot tests with the spent nuclear fuel. Press office of the NPP reported that on September 8.

According to the message, over 23 years of service, the storage amounted up to 21,000 elements of nuclear waste. Due to the fact that the operational life of the current storage is expiring, the staff is now making arrangements to transport the waste to a new repository site. At first, only part of the waste will be transferred, and the rest is to be moved after successful “hot” tests.

The new storage boasts of special technology, allowing to keep the building in the inert atmosphere. It’ll have helium pumped up in there, and the bilateral leak-tight bottles, which are supposed to keep the spent fuel for 100 years,” said Volodymyr Peskov, the Acting Director of Chornobyl NPP enterprise.

The NPP staff managed to get permission for hot tests after cold tests with nuclear waste were performed successfully.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Radiation from Chernobyl spreads far away, as global heating exacerbates widfires

Climate change is spreading radiation from Chernobyl over 2,000 miles away, Boing Boing, 3 Sep 20,  One of the more difficult parts of trying to convince people about the seriousness of climate change is explaining how so many disparate elements and factors can collude and compound* and make everything worse. And it’s even harder to predict how long those complications will take to manifest, whenever they do what they do…….

. As The Atlantic reports:

Monitors in Norway, 2,000 miles away, detected increased levels of cesium in the atmosphere. Kyiv was smothered in smoke [from forest fires]. Press reports estimated that the level of radiation near the fires was 16 times higher than normal, but we may never know how much was actually released: Yoschenko, Zibtsev, and others impatient to take on-the-ground measurements were confined to their homes by the coronavirus pandemic. August is typically the worst month of the Chernobyl fire season, and this year, public anxiety is mounting. The devastation left by the world’s worst nuclear disaster is colliding with the disaster of climate change, and the consequences reach far and deep.

The unexpected result is an immense, long-term ecological laboratory. Within the exclusion zone, scientists are analyzing everything, including the health of the wolves and moose that have wandered back and the effects of radiation on barn swallows, voles, and the microorganisms that decompose forest litter. Now, as wildfires worsen, scientists are trying to determine how these hard-hit ecosystems will respond to yet another unparalleled disruption. ……

when something nuclear does go wrong — which is still likely, because nothing’s perfect — more nuclear power production will result in more radiation damage. And, if this situation with Chernobyl’s forest fires is any indication, then the ultimate fallout of that combined with our existing climate change problems could be even more insurmountably devastating…….

September 5, 2020 Posted by | climate change, environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Analysing the evidence on effects of ionising radiation on wildlife

Nature 21st Aug 2020, Tim Mousseau et al: We re-analyzed field data concerning potential effects
of ionizing radiation on the abundance of mammals collected in the
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) to interpret these findings from current
knowledge of radiological dose–response relationships, here mammal
response in terms of abundance.

In line with recent work at Fukushima, and
exploiting a census conducted in February 2009 in the CEZ, we reconstructed
the radiological dose for 12 species of mammals observed at 161 sites. We
used this new information rather than the measured ambient dose rate (from
0.0146 to 225 µGy h−1) to statistically analyze the variation in
abundance for all observed species as established from tracks in the snow
in previous field studies.

All available knowledge related to relevant
confounding factors was considered in this re-analysis. This more realistic
approach led us to establish a correlation between changes in mammal
abundance with both the time elapsed since the last snowfall and the dose
rate to which they were exposed. This relationship was also observed when
distinguishing prey from predators.

The dose rates resulting from our
re-analysis are in agreement with exposure levels reported in the
literature as likely to induce physiological disorders in mammals that
could explain the decrease in their abundance in the CEZ. Our results
contribute to informing the Weight of Evidence approach to demonstrate
effects on wildlife resulting from its field exposure to ionizing

August 25, 2020 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear radiation and Chernobyl’s forest fires

Twenty-five years after the disaster, Zibtsev and others predicted that if the forests in the exclusion zone were completely consumed by fire, residents in Kyiv would face an increased risk of dying from cancer and government bans would need to be imposed on foods produced as far as 90 miles away. Although such a large and intense fire is currently unlikely, recent fires have been sizable enough to create similar problems. “If Chernobyl forests burn, contaminants will migrate outside the immediate area,” says Zibtsev. “We know that.”

This April’s fires, which scorched 23 percent of the exclusion zone, were the largest burns ever recorded in the area, nearly four and a half times the size of fires in 2015. Flames torched trees less than three miles from the ruined nuclear reactor, which is now enclosed by an arch-shaped steel shroud.

Forest Fires Are Setting Chernobyl’s Radiation Free  

Trees now cover most of the exclusion zone, and climate change is making them more likely to burn.   Story by Jane Braxton Little  10 Aug, 20 In the clear, calm, early hours of May 15, 2003, three miles west of the hulking ruins of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Vasyl Yoschenko was bustling around a stand of Scotch pines planted 30 years earlier. The trees were spindly and closely spaced, but he was skinny enough to move easily among them, taking samples of biomass and litter. Just beyond the trees, he tinkered with the horizontal plates he had placed on the ground in a diagonal grid and covered with superfine cloth designed to absorb whatever came their way.

Yoschenko had just finished adjusting his monitoring equipment in the mid-afternoon when the first gusts of smoke billowed from the far side of the pines. Firefighters were torching the edges of an area the approximate size and shape of a football field. Wearing respirators, camouflage pants, and khaki shirts, cloth bandannas covering their heads, the men were systematically setting the woods ablaze. Flames leapt five feet up trunks, racing to the tops of some trees and sending plumes of smoke aloft.
Yoschenko, a Ukrainian radioecologist, had planned the controlled burn to study how radioactive particulates would behave in a fire, and he knew about the risks represented by the nuclear contamination swirling overhead. He prudently scooted to the edge of the forest, donned a gas mask, and began taking photographs. Was it dangerous? Yoschenko shrugs: “Not so much. We were lucky the wind didn’t change direction.”

The forest burned intensely for 90 minutes, releasing cesium-137, strontium-90, and plutonium-238, -239, and -240 in blasts of smoke and heat. In just one hour, the firefighters—and Yoschenko—could have been exposed to more than triple the annual radiation limit for Chernobyl’s nuclear workers.

Continue reading

August 11, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Reference, safety, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Nuclear radiation – potential danger in East Ukraine

Conflict zone in East Ukraine – on the verge of ecological catastrophe and blue-collar brain drain, JAM News, Source – RFE/RL  30 July 20, 

Coal mines and the metallurgical plants associated with them are the backbone of the economy in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, where the conflict between the central government and the Russian-backed separatists rages on. Closing them deprives the local population of their livelihoods and threatens these and the neighboring regions in Ukraine with ecological disaster.

Pumps cut off

In 2017, the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) developed a plan, according to which only 17 of the profitable mines in the region were kept in operation.

But reality decided to throw a wrench in the works, primarily because Russia did not invest in the Donetsk industry.

The mines were closed by a simple method: the pumps that pump out the water were turned off. The equipment was cut and handed over for scrap.

And it will inevitably affect the situation on the territory controlled by Ukraine – the mines on Ukrainian territory and the Donbass mines form a single water pumping system.

No radioactive contamination…yet

Of particular concern is the Yunkom mine, which in 1979 carried out an experimental nuclear explosion with a yield of 0.3 kilotons.

After the explosion, a glassy capsule with liquid radioactive waste was formed at a depth of 903 meters. It was flooded just after the pumps were turned off in April 2018.

None of the experts really know how the radioactive capsule will react with water, when it will naturally collapse, or where its contents will end up. Neither the authorities of the self-proclaimed republics nor the government of Ukraine are monitoring the radioactive contamination. Nor are they in the Rostov region, where the waters of the Seversky Donets River flow………

August 4, 2020 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

In 2020, a new radioological danger in Chernobyl

Chernobyl Is Again Close To A Disaster! What Happened There In 2020?    Ukrainian officials have sought calm after forest fires in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, led to a rise in radiation levels.

Firefighters said they had managed to put out the smaller of two forest fires that began at the weekend, apparently after someone began a grass fire, and had deployed more than 100 firefighters backed by planes and helicopters to extinguish the remaining blaze.
The fire had caused radiation fears in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, which is located about 60 miles south of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Government specialists on Monday sent to monitor the situation reported that there was no rise in radiation levels in Kyiv or the city suburbs.
“You don’t have to be afraid of opening your windows and airing out your home during the quarantine,” wrote Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service, in a Facebook post about the results of the radiation tests.
As of Monday afternoon, the country’s emergency ministry said that the remaining fire in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covered about 20 hectares and was still being extinguished. Footage released by the ministry showed firefighters dousing flames on the forest floor, and clouds of smoke rising.
Police have arrested a suspect believed to have caused the blaze, a 27-year-old man from the area who reportedly told police he had set grass and rubbish on fire in three places “for fun”. After he had lit the fires, he said, the wind had picked up and he had been unable to extinguish them.
An earlier post by Firsov had warned about heightened radiation levels at the site of the fire, which he said had been caused by the “barbaric” practice of local grass fires often started in the spring and autumn. “There is bad news – radiation is above normal in the fire’s center,” Firsov wrote on Sunday.
The post included a video with a Geiger counter showing radiation at 16 times above normal. The fire had spread to about 100 hectares of forest, Firsov wrote.
The country’s emergency ministry put out a warning for Kyiv on Monday about poor air quality but said it was related to meteorological conditions, and not to the fire.
The service had said on Saturday that increased radiation in some areas had led to “difficulties” in fighting the fire while stressing that people living nearby were not in danger. On Monday, it said that gamma radiation levels had not risen near the fire.
Chernobyl polluted a large area of Europe when its fourth reactor exploded in April 1986, with the region immediately around the power plant the worst affected. People are not allowed to live within 30km of the power station.
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 are common in the forests near the disused power plant.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Ukraine declassifies Chernobyl nuclear disaster documents

Ukraine declassifies Chernobyl nuclear disaster documents

Sunday, 28 June 2020  Ukraine has declassified previously secret Soviet documents on the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant on 26 April 1986, making them public on Monday.

The archives, published in a book edited by the Ukrainian secret service, SBU, give an overview of the various construction errors, accidents and emergency interruptions at the plant between 1971 and the day of the disaster.

After Reactor 4 of the Soviet nuclear plant at Chernobyl exploded, a no-go zone was set up around the area due to the risk of radiation.

The biggest nuclear disaster in History caused the deaths of thousands of people, while tens of thousands had to be displaced.

On Sunday, a new fire occurred in the red zone around the plant, which is about three hectares in area. The Ukrainian authorities said on Monday that the fire had, for the most part, been put out.

In early April, a forest fire fed by gusty winds and unusually dry weather had broken out around the abandoned nuclear plant.

By the time it was brought under control in mid-May, about 11,500 hectares had been destroyed.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ex-president Kravchuk estimates compensation for Ukraine’s nuclear weapons at US$250 bln.

Ex-president Kravchuk estimates compensation for Ukraine’s nuclear weapons at US$250 bln. UNIAN Information Agency 30 May 20 No negotiations were held with the United States on the compensation.Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of independent Ukraine, estimates compensation for scrapping the country’s nuclear weapons after signing the Budapest memorandum at US$250 billion. “The nuclear weapons were tactical, they also went to Russia. There were Backfire carriers, these are legendary aircraft. They also were transferred to Russia. If one counts everything – it’s somewhere about US$250 billion,” Kravchuk told Ukrainian TV host and journalist Alesia Batsman during the Batsman program.

Yet, he said, Ukraine did not conduct negotiations with the United States on the compensation for this amount.
According to him, Ukraine had about 46 nuclear warheads working on solid fuel, and the rest were those working on liquid fuel. “Liquid fuel in rockets was worse than the nuclear weapons. Chemists told me that if, God forbid, it had spilled somewhere on land, the soil could not be used for decades, or even longer. I spoke about this: “How would we [do this]? We, Ukraine, cannot do this on our own. Russia only wants to take the nuclear warheads,” he said. On December 4, 1994, the Budapest memorandum was signed between Ukraine, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Great Britain; it guaranteed Ukraine territorial integrity and security in exchange for its nuclear arsenal.
On December 4, 1994, the Budapest memorandum was signed between Ukraine, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Great Britain; it guaranteed Ukraine territorial integrity and security in exchange for its nuclear arsenal.

June 1, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Energy ministry limits operations of nuclear power plants

Energy ministry limits operations of nuclear power plants   UNIAN Information Agency  9 May 20 Ukraine   “…..This week, the issue of a nuclear power units’ shutdown widely reverberated in a public discourse. From May 5, only 10 of 15 nuclear power units have been operating in Ukraine (four were put on scheduled repairs and one was put into reserve mode). According to the operating schedule for 2020, nine nuclear power units will operate at limited capacities. The government decided to take such a step in connection with the drop in electricity consumption caused by quarantine and record generation from renewables.

That is, generation has increased significantly, while consumption has fallen. Under these conditions, the relevant ministry resorted to extraordinary measures: to limit operations at nuclear power plants….”     UNIAN:

May 11, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine Continues Fighting Fires Near Defunct Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Ukraine Continues Fighting Fires Near Defunct Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, Radio Free Europe, 27 Apr 20 KYIV — Firefighters in Ukraine continue to battle a series of fires near the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant nearly a month after they broke out.

The State Service for Emergency Situations said on April 27 that brigades were still working to extinguish fires in the Lubyanskiy, Paryshivskiy, Dytyatkivskiy, and Denysovytskiy forest districts in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

“The main efforts are focused on the localization of two fire sites, smoldering stumps, wood segments, and peat-boggy soil,” the service said, adding that radiation in the area does not exceed permissible levels.

The fires began on April 3 in the western part of the uninhabited exclusion zone before spreading to nearby forests.

Ukrainian officials have said they have extinguished the fires several times, but new fires continue appearing in the area……

April 28, 2020 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Smoke from Chernobyl area wildfires made Ukraine’s capital have the worst air pollution in the world

Unilad 18th April 2020, Wildfires burning near the Chernobyl nuclear plant have covered the capital
of Ukraine in smoke and made its air pollution among the worst in the
world. Residents burning rubbish near Chernobyl accidentally sparked fires
on April 4, and though firefighters managed to contain the initial blazes,
three new fires began to spread in the contaminated exclusion zone on
Thursday, April 16. The fires were propelled by strong winds and smoke has
engulfed the capital Kyiv. While many residents are adhering to
stay-at-home orders anyway, authorities are now encouraging residents to
close their windows to prevent the smog filling their houses.

April 20, 2020 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

With dry and windy conditions, new areas of ‘smoldering’ reported near Chernobyl nuclear plant

New areas of ‘smoldering’ reported near Chernobyl nuclear plant, Accu Weather, By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist,  Apr. 18, 2020    A massive fire that broke out in northern Ukraine at the beginning of April is no longer said to be threatening the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the region. However, officials are monitoring hot spots as winds whip through the region.

The fire began to burn in the region back on April 3, near the town of Pripyat, located over two hours north of the country’s capital of Kiev and near the border with Belarus.

Police say they arrested a 27-year-old man who is being accused of starting the fire last week. On Monday, police said that another local resident burned waste and accidentally set dry grass ablaze.

The location of the fire was reportedly only one kilometer (less than one mile) away from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s largest nuclear catastrophe back in April 1986.

However, Greenpeace Russia, on Monday, warned that the fire being in close proximity of the power plant posed a radiation risk.

“Higher-than-usual” radiation levels were first reported by the AP on April 5, and are being carefully monitored as the fire continues.

According to Reuters, Chernobyl tour operator, Yaroslav Yemelianenko, shared on Facebook that the fire was only two kilometers away from where “the most highly active radiation waste of the whole Chernobyl zone is located.” He called on officials to warn people of the danger.

Emergency services said on Tuesday morning that there were still some acreage “smoldering” in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, but that the zone contained no open fire.

Acting Chairman of the State Environmental Inspectorate, Yegor Firsov, later said that the fire in the Chernobyl exclusion zone was extinguished, and cited some rain that moved through the region as one helpful factor.

Hundreds of firefighters, as well as several planes and helicopters, battled the blaze for 10 days.

………Strong winds increased the difficulty in containing what’s left of the blaze and new areas of “smoldering” were reported in the Exclusion Zone, but did not pose a threat to any critical facilities, reported officials……..

Dry weather across much of eastern Europe has allowed for a more volatile environment for fire to thrive.

Through April 13, only two percent of the month’s normal rainfall has fallen in Kiev. Since the beginning of 2020, the city has been much drier than normal, only recording 81 mm of rain instead of the average 150 mm.

The dry weather has also caused crop losses already this year across Ukraine, with further damage possible should the dry stretch continue.

Keep checking back on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.


April 18, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Heavy winds fan new fires breaking out in Chernobyl exclusion zone

— New wildfires spread around Chernobyl nuclear plant, New Europe,  By Elena Pavlovska, 17 Apr 20, 

New fires broke out in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone on Thursday, fanned by heavy winds that have made it harder to put out the blaze, Ukrainian officials said.On Tuesday, Ukraine’s emergency service said the fire has been extinguished after rain fell in the region, and stressed that there is no radiation risk.

The state emergency service said three new fires had broken out, but were “not large-scale and not threatening”…..

The [previous] fire sparked concerns that clouds of radioactive smoke could be released and blow south towards Kyiv, after an activist posted a video online showing a cloud of smoke rising within sight of the protective dome over Chernobyl’s Unit 4 nuclear reactor.

April 18, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukrainian authorities declare wildfires near Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Wildfires near Chernobyl under control, Ukrainian authorities say,  April 14, 2020 The fires reportedly came within two kilometers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

April 14, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Chernobyl wildfires 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   By JACK WRIGHT FOR MAILONLINE, 13 April 2020

April 13, 2020 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment