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IAEA says increased Chernobyl radiation levels not a threat to public

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)

The International Atomic Energy Agency says the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant reported higher-than-usual radiation levels after being taken over by Russian forces invading Ukraine.

But it said Friday that current radiation levels do not pose a threat to the public.

Ukraine’s regulatory authority previously said that increased radiation levels may be due to military vehicles stirring up soil that remains contaminated from the accident in 1986, still known as the worst nuclear disaster in history.

But the measures are “within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established,” according to the IAEA.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a 2,600-square-kilometer (1,000-square-mile) area of forest lying between the Belarus-Ukraine border and the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Russian forces took control over the site Thursday after a fierce battle with Ukrainian national guards protecting the plant.

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