Sunday, April 2, 2023

    Fire raging in radioactive forests in area controlled by Russian forces around Chornobyl NPP

    Wildfires have broken out in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone amid ongoing hostilities. The affected area stretches across 10,000 hectares, which may result in massive radioactive pollution.

    That’s according to Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova.

    Fire contamination and extinguishing efforts are impossible due to the seizure of the Exclusion Zone by Russian troops, the ombudsperson wrote on Facebook.

    As a result of combustion, radionuclides are released into the atmosphere, being transported by wind over long distances, which threatens radioactive pollution to Ukraine, Belarus, and European nations. Amid windy and dry weather, the severity and area of ​​fires will be growing, which in turn could lead to large-scale fires that are difficult to contain even in peacetime.

    The flames could engulf spent nuclear fuel storage facilities and nuclear waste storages scattered across the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, Denisova has warned.

    The ombudsperson has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “deploy experts and firefighting equipment in Ukraine as soon as possible to prevent irreparable consequences, not only for Ukraine but for the whole world.”

    “Catastrophic consequences can be prevented only if Russian troops immediate cease the occupation of the territory. Therefore, I call on international human rights organizations to undertake all possible measures to increase pressure on Russia to end military aggression against Ukraine and de-occupy high-risk areas,” the official concluded.