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14 Apr 2020 | 12:05 AM UTC

Ukraine: Fire continues spreading near Chernobyl nuclear plant April 13 /update 1

A fire has spread to within 2 km (1 mi) of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as of April 13; fire containment measures ongoing



Containment efforts are ongoing near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant as of Monday, April 13, as a fire continues to spread in the area. According to local tour operators, the fire is within 2 km (1 mi) of the town of Pripyat and is threatening to engulf the town. At least 12 abandoned villages, as well as swamps, forests, and cemeteries have been destroyed by the blaze. Over 300 firefighters are battling the fire.

Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs announced on Monday that there has been no change in radiation levels at the power plant or in the exclusion zone. According to officials, the spent nuclear fuel storage facilities is not in danger and is protected by fireproof reinforced concrete structures. However, radiation levels are still being monitored and President Volodymyr Zelensky has promised to release reports on the fire to the public. Further details are expected to be released over the coming days.


The fires started on April 4 and police officials announced that a 27-year-old local resident is responsible for deliberately starting the fires. While the area around Chernobyl is sparsely populated, authorities evacuated residents from the village of Poliske (Zhytomyr Oblast) on April 9 as a precaution. Higher levels of radiation were detected in the area; however, levels in Kyiv remain normal.


Individuals in the affected areas are advised to keep abreast of warnings, anticipate transportation and power disruptions, and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, notably evacuation orders.