Interfax-Ukraine

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Fires at Chornobyl NPP threaten further deterioration of radiation situation, impossible to extinguish them.

Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate, with reference to the Center for Predicting the Consequences of Radiation Accidents of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center of the State Emergency Service, has warned of the possibility of further deterioration of the radiation situation in the exclusion zone due to forest fires, which cannot be extinguished due to the Russian occupation of the territory.

"The center says the deterioration of the radiation state in the exclusion zone and beyond as a result of forest fires in the radioactively contaminated territories," the inspectorate said in a Facebook post on Monday.

The message notes that according to the website, areas on fire during the period from March 11 to March 18, 2022 were observed mainly in the western and central parts of the exclusion zone and on March 18 covered an area of more than 8 square kilometers, while on March 17 they amounted to five square kilometers, and on March 11 - almost 14 square kilometers.

At the same time, the agency emphasized that if the current situation continues in the near future, radiation levels in the exclusion zone and beyond, including not only Ukraine, but also other states, may significantly worsen. Among the reasons for this, the regulator named the lack of data on the current state of environmental radiation pollution in the exclusion zone, since the automated system for monitoring the radiation state is not working, which in turn makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats of deterioration in the radiation situation.

At the same time, the regulator emphasizes that extinguishing fires is impossible as a result of the occupation of the exclusion zone by Russian troops. In this regard, it is noted that forest fires, atypical for the zone during winter months, could lead to the almost complete burnout of radioactively contaminated forests in the exclusion zone and, respectively, to a significant deterioration of the radiation situation in Ukraine and throughout Europe.

As reported, a week earlier, the State Agency of Ukraine for the Management of the Exclusion Zone warned of an increase in radiation hazard as a result of recorded fires in the zone of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, which tend to spread. According to him, the areas of fires exceeded the permissible limits by dozens of times, tending to spread and reaching 10 square kilometers in some areas.

The exclusion zone, including Chornobyl NPP, was captured by Russian invaders on February 24.

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