Huge Forest Fire Nears Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Ukrainian interior ministry warns wind has blown huge fire into exclusion zone of plant which blew up once, as flames continue to near.

Ari Yashar,

Destroyed Chernobyl nuclear plant
Destroyed Chernobyl nuclear plant
Thinkstock

Fears that the Chernobyl nuclear plant may explode again were raised on Tuesday, as a massive forest fire spread out of control and began rapidly approaching the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster which occurred in 1986 due to a reactor fire.

Ukraine's interior ministry warned that high winds are pushing the fire towards the plant, with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk saying large forces are working to prevent its spread, reports Reuters.

​"The situation is being controlled, but this is the biggest fire since 1992. We've not had this scale of fire," Yatseniuk told journalists.

The fire has already entered the 30 kilometer (18.6 mile) exclusion zone around the plant, an area which is still contaminated by radioactive particles released in the nuclear disaster of the 1980s.

The prime minister added the fire "is around 20 kilometers to the plant. Our emergency services are actively working there to prevent the fire spreading further."

Video filmed from a helicopter reveals the scope of the fire.

International experts revealed back in February that many dangerous radioactive isotopes are still present in the forests near Chernobyl, and that forest fires could spread them and cause great damage.

Meanwhile a representative of Greenpeace Russia speaking on Moscow Speaks radio said the scope of the fire may be much greater.

The representative said, "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.”




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