Chernobyl Wildfires Increase Radiation Levels

Emre S., journalist

Ukrainian firefighters have reported a wild forest fire near the abandoned nuclear plant of Chernobyl. Radiation levels are considerably lower than they were after the 1986 accident but the radiation still poses risks. Now that the smoke is going up the levels of radiation are getting higher.

There are the blowing winds that carry the smoke and the radiation with them. With strong enough winds the radiation in the air particles could go up to the capital of Ukraine Kiev which could lead to some serious problems If the radiation reaches Kiev its 3 million residents could be in danger of Radiation poisoning and cancer.

The firefighters cannot control or contain the fire at the moment. When the nuclear disaster happened tons of radiation got in the air but over time, radiation has settled into the soil, where its half-life ticks away mostly harmlessly. But the roots of moss, trees, have absorbed radiation, bringing it to the surface and spreading radioactive particles by the smoke that is being produced by the fire. Plus the fires are getting close to the reactor itself.

Wildfires break out often but the blazes burning through dry grass and pine forests this spring, after a warm and dry winter, are far larger than the typical bush fires in the Chernobyl zone. Now Ukraine is dealing with both COVID-19 and this fire.

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