Two forest fires burning in the exclusion zone have elevated the area’s radiation levels…
But experts say the radiation isn’t threatening populated areas. Really?
Radiation levels in the Chernobyl exclusion zone spiked 17 times over the normal background reading Sunday, as forest fires blazed about 12 miles into the Chernobyl disaster area.
“There is bad news,” ecological inspection chief Yegor Firsov wrote in a Facebook post from the closed Chernobyl region. “At the center of the fire, radiation levels are high … readings are 2.3, when the normal level is 0.14.“
According to Firsov, the alarming jump in radioactivity was found only in the center of the fire. In a later post Sunday, he wrote that nuclear specialists had charted no increase in radiation levels in the capital, Kyiv, only about 60 miles from the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Ukrainian authorities said the fire, which engulfed an area of more than 250 acres over the weekend, was most likely caused by human negligence. Firsov said the blaze was likely the result of someone’s setting fire to grass, which then spread to trees.
The Ukrainian Emergency Services Ministry said the fire had been extinguished. Radiation levels in the zone are now within normal limits, the statement said.
Such fires are more dangerous around Chernobyl, as the trees and plant life are still irradiated from the 1986 nuclear disaster.