Europe, Environment

Wildfire nears Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine

Fire in Chernobyl exclusion zone reaches city of Pripyat, 3 km from Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Elena Teslova   | 13.04.2020
Wildfire nears Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine

MOSCOW 

A forest blaze in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in northern Ukraine reached the city of Pripyat on Monday, an official announced.

Three kilometers (1.9 miles) off the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the fire is approaching the Podlesny storage facility which contains the most highly radioactive waste in the Chernobyl zone, Yaroslav Emelyanenko, a member of the State Agency of Ukraine for Management of the Exclusion Zone said on Facebook.

Emelyanenko urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take measures against the fire, warning that it was moving in downwind towards the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The fire broke out in the Chernobyl exclusion zone on April 4 with authorities saying two days later that it had been extinguished and radiation levels were normal.

However, the remaining blazes merged to form a larger wildfire again. Officials have been unable to pinpoint the exact area of the fire due to heavy smoke.

Preliminary reports indicate that it may cover an area of up to 100 hectares (247 acres).

The exclusion zone management agency has asked police to check for deliberate arson as a cause of the large-scale forest fires near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

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