Smoldering over popular media’s coverage of Chernobyl

June 11, 2021, 9:28AMRadwaste Solutions
The Chernobyl site in 2017 following the placement of the New Safe Confinement structure. (Photo: EBRD)

No matter the discipline, reporting on technical issues for a mass audience is fraught with pitfalls. To make the subject understandable to the layperson, authors make generous use of analogies, which are inherently incomplete and tenuous, like a stone house being built on swampland.

Likewise, in an effort to garner as many clicks or views as possible, reporters and news outlets will often resort to sensationalism, making the news being reported more dramatic than it is. (To be fair, those supplying the news can also be guilty of sensationalism in their hunger for media coverage.)

Ukraine authorizes Chernobyl spent fuel storage

April 28, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Participating in the ceremony to hand over the ISF-2 operating license are (from left) Valery Seyda, acting director general of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; and SNRIU Chairman Grigoriy Plachkov.

Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRIU) has authorized the operation of Chernobyl’s Interim Storage Facility (ISF-2), allowing spent nuclear fuel from the plant’s three undamaged reactors to be loaded into the dry storage facility. The handover of the ISF-2 operating license was carried out during a ceremony held on April 26, the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, and was attended by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

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.

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