World Health Organization insider talks about the radiation secrets of the WHO; ICRP, IAEA, Chernobyl, Fukushima

Ms Katz’s April 2017 interview, which this article is based upon, can be heard in its entirety.

From CounterPunch

May 2, 2017

By Robert Hunziker

Imagine the following hypothetical: The World Health Organization (“WHO”) is deeply involved in a high level cover up of the human impact and dangers of ionizing radiation, intentionally hiding the facts from the public, a chilling storyline!

After all, the world community depends upon WHO as an independent org t0 forewarn the general public of health dangers and to help in times of crises, not hide pivotal health facts from public eye.

As it happens, that nightmarish hypothetical comes to life in an interview with Alison Katz, who claims: “We are absolutely convinced that if the consequences of nuclear radiation were known to the public, the debate about nuclear power would end tomorrow. In fact, if the public knew, it would probably be excluded immediately as an energy option.”

Alison Katz heads a NGO known as Independent WHO, and she spends a lot of time arranging sandwich boards with messages like: “Complicity in Scientific Crime” or “Crime of Chernobyl – WHO Accomplice” in front of WHO headquarters/Geneva. For 10 years now on a daily vigil from 8:00-to-6:00 she and/or other protestors expose alleged misbehavior committed by WHO, right outside of the headquarters building. Imagine this: Ten years on the same street corner every working day. It’s commitment and determination sans pareil.

“The aim of the silent vigil is to remind the World Health Organisation of its duties. It was Hippocrates who formulated the ethical rules for health practitioners. The World Health Organisation ignores these rules, when it comes to protecting the health of the victims of the consequences of the nuclear industry”.

Which brings forth: Ten years of hard work combating a difficult and challenging issue warrants public adulation beyond carrying posters back and forth, come rain or shine, trudging away in the heat of the sun or the freezing cold and snow in front of WHO Hdqs. Hopefully, this article serves that purpose for Alison Katz.

The mission of Independent WHO is to expose WHO’s failings whilst calling for WHO independence away from influence by the worldwide nuclear syndicate: According to WHO Independence’s Web Site: “The World Health Organization (WHO) is failing in its duty to protect those populations who are victims of radioactive contamination.”

Ms Katz worked inside the WHO for 18 years. She insists that WHO, in cahoots with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), dangerously misrepresents the inherent dangers of ionizing radiation, an insinuation that smacks in the face with egregiousness galore.

Ms Katz’s April 2017 interview, which this article is based upon, can be heard in its entirety.

This article condenses and summarizes her one-hour interview. As such, according to Ms Katz: “The health consequences of nuclear activity, whether they are civil or military, are not known to the public… There has been a very high level cover up… including the WHO.”

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Radioactive goods are being looted, stripped, and exported from Chernobyl – video and transcript

Fort Russ
April 28th, 2017
Translation by Tatzhit Mihailovich

Source Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lWp6enOwTQ

FROM THE TRANSLATOR

The 31st anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster this Wednesday has attracted considerable media attention in the West. Most of the publications focused on the event itself. Some talked about the recent “accomplishments” of the Poroshenko regime – erecting a steel containment structure over the old concrete one [1], plans to build a solar power plant at the site, and so on [2].

A few articles, like the Associated Press piece (reprinted by most Western outlets – Washington Post, ABC News, Fox, Daily Mail, etc etc)  used to occasion to highlight “anti-nuclear protest in Belarus” [3].

Finally, one or two articles talked about cool projects in the exclusion zone – such as a few Polish “adventurers” moving a generator into Pripyat and turning lights on (source) – but without discussing e.g. the potential for electrical fires, which would spread radioactive smoke, or the fact that random people can freely roam Pripyat.

No one talked about the real problem – the fact that the “closed zone” around Chernobyl is no longer really “closed”, and that everything of value is being looted and sold to unsuspecting buyers [4]. The interview below discusses this problem.

[pictured: school in the radioactive town of Polesskoe, mentioned in interview below, midway through being disassembled for construction materials. Photo credit to zametkiev LJ.]

Interestingly, the man presenting the evidence (Alexander Medinskiy) is actually a Ukrainian nationalist – or used to be, anyway. He even fought in Donbass, but since coming back from the war, he has seen the effects of “Western democracy” on Ukraine and has become a vocal critic of the new regime, calling it corrupt, dictatorial, and criminal (and was branded a “terrorist sympathizer” in return). So, we can hear a report for an “insider”, as it were.

VIDEO

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
(A) = Aleksandr Medinskiy
(K) = Konstantin Zazvonov

[greetings skipped]

(A) Kostya, everyone in Ukraine understands that the industry is mostly dead, so all that’s left is scrapping the leftovers. Now they are getting into Chernobyl.

(K) Isn’t it supposed to be closed off?

(A) It used to be “restricted” before. And even then, not guarded well. And now, it’s not just lone looters. It goes all the way to the top, so restrictions no longer apply.
Moreover, most of the policemen that were guarding Chernobyl have been laid off now, so it’s standing wide open.

(K) Got it. What exactly is being looted? [Irradiated] vehicles from storage areas, or building materials and infrastructure?

(A) Anything and everything of value, Kostya.
First of all… Let’s show a photo here… On Google photos we can see that in 2002, this “vehicle cemetery” was completely full and by 2013, it was all taken. So first they looted the vehicles – those are the most valuable. Not every last one, but most.

Now they’ve moved on to houses – taking them apart for pipes, rebar, and so on.

Here we can see how the school in Polesskoe [ghost town about 20 mi downwind from the reactor – ed.] is being disassembled into concrete slabs.

No idea where those slabs will turn up, because it is very tricky to figure out the schemes being used there.

But… I can say that, some time ago, businessmen I know personally have bought a load of used metal pipes, supposedly originating from Dnepropetrovsk.

And when the load was delivered, they were smart enough to check it with a radiation counter – the levels were off the charts, pretty much lethal.

They weren’t able to find out where the pipes originated from, but it certainly wasn’t Dnepropetrovsk. Somewhere within the exclusion zone, apparently.

(K) So is it sold within Ukraine, or exported? Or you don’t have that sort of information?

(A) I’ll put it this way. If you really look into what’s happening into exclusion zone, this is a large-scale, industrial effort. They are disassembling buildings using cranes. This isn’t merely a couple hobos trying to scavenge.

We can see heavy construction vehicles being moved in. We can see buildings being disassembled in a professional manner, with cranes.

We can see heavy vehicles being used to drag radioactive barges onto the shore, where they are cut for scrap. There are videos of that as well.
Where does all of this go is anybody’s guess. Some of it is bought by unwary people within Ukraine. Some of the metal is probably molten down, re-cast, and then exported.

Everybody knows that, [unfortunately], our government is among the world’s most corrupt ones. Thus, it is no problem to make real and proper documents verifying that these goods have “successfully passed” radiological inspection.

The real horror of the situation is that these materials can be anywhere in Ukraine now. Those radioactive pipes I told you about – they were brought to the capital!

And after those businessmen refused – where did they take those pipes? Maybe sold them to somebody else?

(K) I’d bet they didn’t take them back to Chernobyl! Yeah, probably resold.

You know, in one of my future videos, I plan to talk about contraband to Poland – how cigarettes and [medical] drugs are being smuggled across the border via drones.

And about Chernobyl – how is it all transported, do you think? How do they smuggle all those vehicles and building materials? Do they do it at night, do they camouflage it, or what?

(A) Let me explain how things work here. “Illegal” smuggling isn’t the main problem here, not really.

The problem is that the government officials are so corrupt, this wave of contraband is going “semi-legally” – through the checkpoints, with all the proper documentation, with knowledge of those in charge.

We’ll talk about that in more detail later. As for items from the exclusion zone, they can be split into several segments.

The most basic category are the hunters, poachers, the people who hunt for meat here. As you can guess, no one checks the meat with any sort of radiation counters.

And the exclusion zone is kind of interesting. There are some patches that are relatively clean, and there are patches that are extremely radioactive.

For example, aforementioned Polesie, [where the school was being taken apart for slabs] – that area is extremely “hot”.

There are people who gather mushrooms, berries, and so on – [Chernobyl] exclusion zone obviously has all of that. And then this food can go to the markets in Kiev, maybe even exported abroad, zero control for that.

Then there are the midlevel “harvesters”, who cut up pipes, rebar, the aforementioned barges, and so on. They pay off the officials and transport the loot semi-legally.

And there is an even higher level. [Irradiated] vehicles aren’t usually cut for scrap, unless they’re completely unserviceable. And if they can still work…

There was discussion of using the remaining helicopters [from the “radiation graveyard”], some tracked vehicles – to use them in the warzone. Can you imagine that?

(K) I thought it was actually done in the end?

(A) I can not claim that it was done. I know it was discussed, that’s all.
So, we can see that the “graveyards” are now empty. Where did the vehicles go…

Maybe they sold the armor to some warring African state. Or to South-East Asia somewhere – not everyone is smart enough to do their own radiological inspection of our country’s exports.

(K) So you suspect UkrSpetsExport (Ukraine’s arms export monopoly – ed.) could have made some money there?

(A) I don’t want to make any such statements. Because we want to be… [Ukrainian word] how do you say this in Russian… We want to be objective, evidence-based.
What I wanted to tell here is that the problem exists, and that its rapidly getting worse.
Right now they’re taking apart Polesskoe, then they’ll move on to Pripyat – the probably already started, then they’ll start taking apart the reactor building itself…

You see, that place can be looted for decades. There are construction materials, scrap metal,  venison, mushrooms, and so on. It can be a serious source of income.

The problem is that the whole government system is corrupt. UkrSpetsExport is part of it, so we can not honestly conclude that it is not involved, either. Any part of the system could be.

(K) Thank you very much for your insights on [what’s currently going in] Chernobyl

(A) Yes, thank you too, for raising awareness about this problem. Its being swept under the rug, not talked about, but it’s actually huge. Radiation is an invisible killer.

There are many survivors of Chernobyl among the Ukrainian people, and they should know about this. Also, this problem needs to be discussed internationally. We will continue investigating this matter over here.

(K) Thank you Alex. Use your radiation counter, be safe. All the best!

NOTES:

[1] The project was funded by foreign countries, started in 2007 and slated for completion in 2014.
Of course, the Maidan “revolution” set the project back a few years and incurred mysterious additional costs that required further foreign funding. In the end, the new regime was able to claim credit for finishing a project they didn’t start, didn’t pay for, and actually delayed.
[2] An interesting contrast can be seen here: VOA propagandists claim that the Chernobyl solar plant will generate 2.5 Gw and the project will be complete by May (link), while the somewhat more reasonable BBC propagandists talk about 1 Gw, built by 2019 or so (link).
In reality, most likely, none of these output figures and deadlines will be met – no work has been done so far, and no contracts have been signed.
[3] There is almost no information on this anti-nuclear protest in Belorussian or Russian-language sources; even the Youtube videos put out by the organizers have a couple thousand views at most.
The number of Western journalists and bloggers discussing this tiny gathering of professional “opposition activists” might very well be greater than the number of actual Belorussians who support the protesters.

[4] The lack of attention to what’s going on in the exclusion zone is especially puzzling considering how much the Western mass media love scaring their audiences – fear is the most powerful of human emotions, after all, and scare stories bring the most ad profits.
I suppose that in this case, profits had to take a back seat to the political goal of supporting the Poroshenko regime.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/open-ukraine-radioactive-goods-are.html

U.S.-Ukraine “partnership” threatens new Chernobyl-style disaster

More bad nuclear news out of Ukraine.

From Fort Russ

April 27, 2015 –
Leonid Savin, Katehon

 

April 26, 2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion of the 4th reactor at the Chernobyl power plant, the effects of which are felt to this very day. This comes at a time when alarming news has arrived which evokes concern over the future of Ukraine’s nuclear industry.
The problems started  along with the “Maidan” coup backed by the US and EU, because Washington immediately started to lobby for a large deal in its own interests, including nuclear industry projects.
The Ukrainian state enterprise Energoatom and the Westinghouse Company (US), agreed in 2014 to extend the contract to supply Ukrainian nuclear power plants with US nuclear fuel, until 2020.
But the use of US produced fuel for Soviet reactors is not compatible with their design, and violates security requirements, and could lead to disasters comparable with what happened in Chernobyl. The International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry (IUVNEI) issued the following statement on April 25th, that “Nuclear fuel produced by the US firm Westinghouse does not meet the technical requirements of Soviet-era reactors, and using it could cause an accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster, which took place on the 26th April 1986.” The IUVNEI brings together more than 15,000 nuclear industry veterans from Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Moscow.
Four years ago, there was a near-miss in the Ukraine, when a TVS-W unit with damaged distancing armatures, nearly experienced a significant uncontrolled release of dangerous radiation. Only by a miracle was there no disaster at the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant. But it did not prevent the signing of the agreement. A Czech nuclear power plant experienced a depressurization of fuel elements produced by Westinghouse several years ago, followed by the Czech government’s abandoning the company as a fuel supplier. According to Yuri Nedashkovsky, the president of the country’s state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom, on April 23th, 2014 Ukraine’s interim government ordered an allocation of 45.2 hectares of land for the construction of a nuclear waste storage site within the depopulated exclusion area around the plant of Chernobyl, between the villages of Staraya Krasnitsa, Buryakovka, Chistogalovka and Stechanka in the Kiev Region (the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors). The fuel is to come from Khmelnitsky, Rovno and South Ukraine nuclear power plants.
At present, used fuel is mostly transported to a new dry-storage facility at the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Factory in the Krasnoyarsk region, and storage and reprocessing plant Mayak in the Chelyabinsk region; the both facilities are situated in the Russian Federation.
In 2003, Ukraine started to look for alternatives to the Russian storage units. In December 2005, Energoatom signed a 127.8 million euro agreement with the US-based Holtec International to implement the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors. Holtec’s work involved design, licensing, construction, commissioning of the facility, and the supply of transport and vertical ventilated dry storage systems for used VVER nuclear fuel. By the end of 2011 Holtec International had to close its office in Kiev as it had come under harsh criticism worldwide. It is widely believed that the company has lost licenses in some countries because of the poor quality of its containers resulting in radiation leaks.  Westinghouse and Holtec are members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). Morgan Williams, President/CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, has worked in Ukraine since the 1990’s.
“Today is one of the most important days since Ukraine’s independence as the efforts of these two internationally known companies will go a long way to assuring that Ukraine has greater energy independence,” he said at the ceremony devoted to  Westinghouse Electric Company and Holtec International signing contracts with Ukraine. The President of USUBC added, “This is made more important by the fact that for Ukraine, energy and political independence are closely interdependent. I join all of the USUBC members in toasting the success of these two great member companies, as we all work to assist Ukraine on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and a strong democratic, private market driven nationhood.”
Morgan Williams is known as a lobbyist representing the interests of Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil in Ukraine. He has direct links with Freedom House which is involved in staging “color revolutions” in Eurasia, North Africa and Latin America.
One more interesting fact to be mentioned here. In Spring 2014 it was reported that according to covert agreements reached between Ukraine’s interim government and its European partners, the nuclear waste coming from EU member states would be stored in Ukraine.  Being in violation of the law, the deal is kept secret. Some high standing officials in Kiev were remunerated. It is said that Alexander Musychko (Sashko Biliy), a prominent nationalist from Rovno, tried to blackmail the Kiev rulers threatening to make the conspiracy public. That’s why he was killed, on the orders of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov.
US is the main manager of the self-isolation of the Ukrainian regime from Russia, which has greatly impacted cooperation between two countries, as well as in the area of nuclear security. The administration of the Chernobyl nuclear plant has stated clearly that the process is going in wrong way.

Expert: Ukrainian nuclear energy decision could lead to “Chernobyl disaster”

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
 23rd February, 2016
The refusal of Russian fuel cells and the use of American equivalents at the Ukrainian atomic power stations has already led to an accident at the South-Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).
An expert on atomic energy, Alexander Igonin, commented on this on the website “Ukraine.ru”. “The technological inconsistencies of American nuclear fuel and Soviet reactors has already led to accidents at nuclear power plants in Finland, Czech Republic and Ukraine. Despite the official statement that the South-Ukrainian NPP “is all within the normal range”, an unscheduled stop of the reactor is a serious incident, describing the technical state of the station” — he said.
Igonin also noted that the Kiev regime has significantly increased the risks of accidents at Ukrainian nuclear power plants. “The Zaporozhye and South-Ukrainian NPP are the first stations where the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, before the end of the year, decided to start using exclusively American nuclear fuel. According to experts, such a move significantly increases the risk of incidents similar to Chernobyl“, — stated the expert.
He reminded us that in future the Ukrainian authorities intend to make a transition to American nuclear fuel across all operated nuclear power station, with more than a dozen working reactors.
Earlier it was reported that the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant (NPP) disconnected its third turbine due to technical problems.

More wildfires in Chernobyl exclusion zone

Posted on Optimal Prediction.com July 2, 2015

The latest wildfire to break out near Chernobyl has consumed 130 hectares. It started on June 29, and it is unclear whether it is still burning or not.

Experts have recorded 0.0025 becquerels of Cesium-137 per cubic meter of air. The inspection found that it is beyond the measures usually observed.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency Situations, the fire in the Chernobyl exclusion zone continues, firefighters are unable to resolve the situation. (link)

Air near the desolated settlement of Polesskoye in the Chernobyl zone is contaminated with the radioactive element cesium-137. Its content in the air has reached a level called “sequence above the norm” (approximately ten times the norm), the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRI) reported on Wednesday.

Cesium-137 is one of the most dangerous nuclear elements, as it accumulates in the body and can lead to leukemia. (link)

The radiation risk involves the fire spreading to areas closer to the plant. But there is no danger of a new explosion.

Fire near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine poses a danger to the surrounding regions, expert of the Polish branch of Greenpeace Jan Haverkamp told TASS on Thursday.

“We are monitoring the situation. Fortunately, the fire has not yet reached the NPP reactor zone. It’s very dangerous that everything is happening in the nuclear power plant area. If the fire spreads there, a huge amount of radiation will get into the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a risk, but the risk primarily to Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, as they are located in close vicinity,” Haverkamp said.

According to him, there will be no explosion, similar to the 1986 accident, and Eastern European countries, including Poland, have now nothing to worry about.

“We welcome the efforts of Ukrainian authorities that are doing their utmost to prevent the fire from spreading,” the expert said. (link)

http://optimalprediction.com/wp/another-fire-in-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-increasing-i-131-and-emissions-at-fukushima/

http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150702/1024111335.html

 

Smoke from Chernobyl fire could spread radiation far and wide – experts

From RT, April 29, 2015

 RT video screenshot
 RT video screenshot 

Smoke from burning forests in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is capable of spreading contaminants across great distances, even after the fire has been stopped, ecology experts told RT.

The forest fire near the crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant started on Tuesday and triggered an emergency alert, with police and National Guard mobilized to bring the flames under control.

https://youtu.be/U-c25VBhkE4

By Wednesday, the country’s Emergency Ministry, as well as the prime minister, who went to the affected area, said the spread of the fire had been stopped and firefighters were containing the remaining flames.

The fire occurred within 30 kilometers of the Chernobyl power plant, inside the exclusion zone which was abandoned and cordoned off almost 30 years ago. In 1986, an explosion and fire in Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 caused a release of radioactive particles into the air, which contaminated the surrounding area and caused an increase in radiation levels in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and across Europe. It was the worst ever nuclear disaster in terms of casualties and clean-up costs. The crippled reactor itself was sealed under a sarcophagus of reinforced concrete.

Although the sarcophagus remains untouched by the fire, decades-old contaminants could still be released and travel far and wide, borne aloft by the smoke, nuclear safety expert John H. Large told RT:

“Brush fires and forest fires were the greatest concern in terms of the means by which you can disperse a secondary radiological impact from the original dissipation that occurred in 1986,” he said.

John went to Chernobyl in 2006 to assess the situation there and spoke to dozens of scientists working on containing the contamination.

“In the exclusion zone and further away you have an area that has been abandoned for farming, abandoned for man management,” John says. “That means you’ve got lots of brush and young wood growing out of control, and that means there’s a big fuel load to have a fire.”

He says the high temperatures and volumes of smoke produced in a forest fire can take contaminants hundreds of kilometers away from the exclusion zone: “Radiation really doesn’t respect any international boundaries.”

https://soundcloud.com/rttv/chernobyl-fire

Forest fires have happened in the area before, but have never been so serious, Timothy Mousseau, biology professor at the University of South Carolina, told RT:

“Previous forest fires had re-released about eight percent of the radiation from the original catastrophe. The fire that we’re seeing today seems to be on a much larger scale, and so we could see a re-dispersion of a very significant component of the original radiation.”

Another problem is that as the trees that have absorbed contaminants burn up and release smoke, this turns radioactive particles into a much more dangerous form than if they simply lie in the ground.

“Internal radiation from inhalation – in other words, if you inhale something radioactive and it gets inside you – is very much more dangerous than just the background radiation that comes off the ground,” says Christopher Busby, the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risks.

http://rt.com/news/254193-chernobyl-fire-radiation-spread/

French nuclear safety research institution IRSN created this simulation video, modelling the spread of caesium-137 from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Christopher Busby commented on how far radioactive particles can potentially spread: “After Chernobyl itself, they ended up in the atmosphere and they went right across the Baltic States and into Finland, and over Sweden, and then to the United Kingdom, where they caused significant increases in cancer.”

http://rt.com/news/254193-chernobyl-fire-radiation-spread/

Forest fires heading for Chernobyl nuclear plant; expert warns of re-release of radiation into atmosphere

From RT
April 28, 2015

Video 2:52: http://img.rt.com/files/news/3d/fc/90/00/kosarev2300.mp4?event=download

The Ukrainian National Guard has been put on high alert due to worsening forest fires around the crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

The forest fire situation around the Chernobyl power plant has worsened,” a statement on Avakov’s Facebook page says.

The forest fire is heading in the direction of Chernobyl’s installations. Treetop flames and strong gusts of wind have created a real danger of the fire spreading to an area within 20 kilometers of the power plant. There are about 400 hectares [988 acres] of forests in the endangered area.”

Police and National Guard units are on high alert. Ukraine’s Prime Minister personally went to the affected area to oversee the firefighting. He says the situation is under control, “but this is the biggest fire since 1992.”

However, in comments to Russia’s Moscow Speaks radio, a representative of Greenpeace Russia said that the situation is much worse: “A very large, catastrophic forest fire is taking place in a 30-km zone around the Chernobyl power plant. We estimate the real area of the fire to be 10,000 hectares; this is based on satellite images. This hasn’t been officially acknowledged yet.”

The potential danger in this fire comes from the radioactive contaminants the burning plants have absorbed, ecologist Christopher Busby told RT. “Some of the materials that were contaminating that area would have been incorporated into the woods. In other words, they land on the ground in 1986 and they get absorbed into the trees and all the biosphere. And when it burns, they just become re-suspended. It’s like Chernobyl all over again. All of that material that fell on the ground will now be burned up into the air and will become available for people to breathe.” Christopher Busby is the scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risks.

Ecologist Dmitry Shevchenko from the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus says it is difficult to predict where exactly the contaminants will go: “We don’t have a real-time monitoring system for the Chernobyl area. We can hypothesize whether the radionuclides will go here or there, but there is no-one who can reliably predict the situation.”

Ukrainian emergency services say 182 people and 34 vehicles have been dispatched to fight the fire. A Mi-8 helicopter and three An-32 water dropping airplanes are also working at the scene. The efforts are being coordinated from a mobile emergency headquarters.

According to the head of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone management department, radiation levels in the area remain normal. “The area on fire is relatively clean,” Vasily Zolotoverkh told the newspaper kp.ua. He said the fire started at lunchtime, when emergency workers had finished putting out an earlier blaze which started during the night. The emergency services have stated that it could have been caused by a lit cigarette.

Ukraine’s acting head of emergency services said earlier the forest fires were not a threat to the sarcophagus sealing off Chernobyl’s crippled Reactor 4.

Chernobyl and the surrounding area have been abandoned and remain off-limits following the April 1986 disaster, when an explosion and fire released massive amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere. Increased radiation levels were detected throughout Europe.

Chernobyl became the worst nuclear disaster in world history in terms of casualties and clean-up costs. Reactor 4, where the blast took place, was sealed off in a giant reinforced concrete sarcophagus to prevent further leaks.

http://rt.com/news/253897-chernobyl-fires-rage-ukraine/