Fire near Chernobyl has no effect on plant

April 20, 2020, 11:51AMNuclear News

A forest fire near the Chernobyl site had no effect on radiation levels in the exclusion and evacuation zones around the site, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) on April 8. The “equivalent dose rates of gamma radiation did not change,” SESU stated.

SESU’s statement came three days after Egor Firsov, the head of Ukraine’s ecological inspection service, wrote in an online post, “There is bad news---in the center of the fire, radiation is above normal.” On a video that accompanied the post, Firsov displayed a Geiger counter that showed elevated levels of radiation.

A NASA satellite image from April 5 captured smoke from a forest fire near the Chernobyl plant site in Ukraine. Actively burning fires, detected by thermal bands, are shown as red points on the image. The fire was about 100 miles west of Kyiv, the nation’s capital. Image: NASA

The area of the fire did not include Kyiv, the nation’s capital that is about 100 miles away from the exclusion zone, or its surrounding suburbs, despite some media reports to the contrary.

Details: A forest fire began April 4 in the Kotovy Forest, and eventually covered more than 50 acres. SESU reported that as of April 6 the situation was under control, but some smoldering parts remained.

Setting the record straight: Media reports claimed that increased radiation levels were detected in Kyiv. Ukraine’s State Scientific and Technical Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, however, noted its emergency preparedness and radiation monitoring department had conducted measurements of the radionuclide content in the air and that “man-made radionuclides were not detected in the territory,” which included Kyiv and its suburbs.

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