search

Chernobyl radiation rise detected as Russia military kicks up dust, says nuke agency

Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate says higher than usual gamma radiation levels caused by heavy military equipment disturbing topsoil at decommissioned nuclear plant

The giant protective dome built over the sarcophagus covering the destroyed fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, April 13, 2021. (Sergei Supinsky/ AFP/ File)
The giant protective dome built over the sarcophagus covering the destroyed fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, April 13, 2021. (Sergei Supinsky/ AFP/ File)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s nuclear energy regulatory agency said Friday that higher than usual gamma radiation levels have been detected in the area near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant, after it was seized by the Russian military.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said that higher gamma radiation levels have been detected in the Chernobyl zone, but didn’t provide details of the increase.

It attributed the rise to a “disturbance of the topsoil due to the movement of a large amount of heavy military equipment through the exclusion zone and the release of contaminated radioactive dust into the air.”

Ukrainian authorities said that Russia took the plant and its surrounding exclusion zone after a fierce battle Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack on Chernobyl “a declaration of war on all of Europe”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russian airborne troops were protecting the plant to prevent any possible “provocations.”

He insisted that radiation levels in the area have remained normal.

An operator’s armchair covered with plastic sits in an empty control room of the 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, on April 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said it was told by Ukraine of the takeover, adding that there had been “no casualties or destruction at the industrial site.”

The 1986 disaster occurred when a nuclear reactor at the plant 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Kyiv exploded, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe. The damaged reactor was later covered by a protective shell to prevent leaks.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed