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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

Radioactive cloud headed to Kiev, as fires rage in Chernobyl region

April 11, 2020 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The unsafety of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors: Ukrainian Association of Veterans of Atomic Energy and Industry fear “another Chernobyl”

Ukrainian Nuclear Industry Workers Sound Alarm About Threat of ‘Another Chernobyl’ RIA Novosti . Alexei Furman 10.04.2020 

Ukrainian firefighters reported that radiation levels at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone spiked to over 16 times their normal level this week as wildfires continue to ravage the desolate, forested area. The fires are said to have unleashed radioactive elements previously trapped in soil and plants into the atmosphere, carrying them into the wind.

The Ukrainian Association of Veterans of Atomic Energy and Industry, a collective of retired officials including several former heads of nuclear power plants, have declared that the country’s nuclear energy sector is in a critical state and that there is a danger of “another Chernobyl.”

 “A dire situation is taking shape in the country’s nuclear energy sector,” association members warn in a letter addressed to President Volodymyr Zelensky, the prime minister and speaker of parliament, and published by local media.

The letter alleges that Energoatom, operator of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, has not had permanent managers working based on the relevant safety permits from nuclear regulators over a space of several months now. This, they say, means that “legally, no one is responsible for the safety of nuclear power plants.”

“Is it really the case that Chernobyl was not enough for us, and we are trying to repeat it again?” the appeal urges.

The letter also warns that Energoatom faces a critical shortage of financial resources necessary to ensuring the safe operation of plants and the procurement of fuel, and asks authorities if they understand what a forced shutdown of the country’s nuclear power plants could lead to (Ukraine depends on its nuclear power plants for about half of all the electricity generated in the country).

Complaining about what they say are ongoing efforts to have individuals with no knowledge of nuclear energy placed in senior positions at Energoatom, the retired nuclear industry workers ask whether authorities “realize that all of this is a gross violation of the international nuclear safety regime.”

Ultimately, the association says they are “not asking” nor urging, “but insisting” that authorities “stop the practice of [running Energoatom by] acting heads, stop the financial discrimination of Energoatom, and prevent the country from sliding toward another Chernobyl!”

The appeal was written by senior former industry officials, including Vladimir Bronnikov, former director of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Vladimir Korovkin, former director of the Rivne nuclear plant, and Nikolai Shteynberg, former chief engineer of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants

The Ukrainian nuclear power industry operates four power plants and 15 reactors, and has the seventh-largest nuclear power-generating capacity in the world. Starting in the mid-2010s, Ukraine began turning away from Russia’s Rosatom to US nuclear power company Westinghouse for its nuclear fuel rods. However, observers have expressed concerns over the safety of the US equipment, including amid reports that its nuclear fuel rods literally didn’t initially fit into Ukraine’s Soviet-era reactors.

In popular consciousness, Ukraine’s nuclear power sector is probably most commonly associated with the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, which took place on the night of April 26, 1986. The disaster was the result of an experiment simulating a power outage carried out by deputy chief-engineer Anatoly Dyatlov. The test saw the blatant violation of numerous safety regulations, with Dyatlov ordering the shutdown of multiple computerized and manual safety systems to proceed with the test. Ultimately, the ‘experiment’ led to an uncontrolled reaction and steam explosion, followed by a graphite fire. 54 people died in the disaster’s immediate aftermath and cleanup operation, with 4,000 more perishing from cancers and other illnesses in the two decades that followed, according to World Health Organization figures. The disaster also contaminated some 50,000 square kilometers of land across northern Ukraine, and up to 20 percent of the total land area of neighbouring Belarus.

Over three decades on, the fallout from Chernobyl continues to cause problems for Ukraine and its neighbours. This week, Ukraine’s emergency services reported that out of control fires in the forests of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had spread to cover at least 35 hectares of territory, leading to a massive spike in local radiation levels.

April 11, 2020 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukrainian firefighters continue to struggle with Chernobyl are fires, amid radiation fears

April 11, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

As at 5 April, radiation levels in Chernobyl area were 16 times above normal, due to forest fires

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Wildfires in Ukraine: authorities say that those near Chernobyl are now extinguished

Ukraine Says Fire Extinguished Near Contaminated Site Of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Emergency authorities in Ukraine say there are no signs of any fire still burning in the uninhabited exclusion zone around the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant after firefighters mobilized to put out a blaze.

Radio Free Europe, 5 Apr 20, The country’s State Emergency Service said early on April 5 that background radiation levels were “within normal limits.”

More than 130 firefighters, three aircraft, and 21 vehicles were deployed on April 4 to battle the fire, which was said to have burned around 20 hectares (50 acres) in the long-vacated area near where an explosion at a Soviet nuclear plant in 1986 sent a plume of radioactive fallout high into the air and across swaths of Europe.

Fire and safety crews were said to be inspecting the area overnight on April 4-5 to eliminate any threat from sites where there was still smoldering.

The blaze required seven airdrops of water, officials said.

The Ukrainian State Emergency Service said that “as of April 5, 7:00 a.m., there was no open fire, only some isolated cells smoldering.”   It said firefighters hadn’t seen any flames since around 8:00 p.m. on April 4.
Officials had earlier shared images taken from an aircraft of white smoke blanketing the area, where it said firefighting was complicated by “an increased radiation background in individual areas of combustion.”

There was no threat to settlements, the State Emergency Service said.

A number of regions of Ukraine this week have reported brushfires amid unseasonably dry conditions.,,,,,,,

April 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Ukraine | Leave a comment