Wildfires rage at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sparking radiation fears.

Wildfires rage at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sparking radiation fears.


Raging wildfires are edging toward the nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine at Chernobyl, sparking concerns that it could leak dangerous radiation into the area.

Tour operator Yaroslav Emelianenko said that one fire had already entered the abandoned town of Pripyat, which housed workers and was served by the plant until 1986, when an notorious nuclear accident sprawled a cloud of radiation over most of Europe.

Mr Emelianenko said the fire is only two kilometers away from where the most dangerous nuclear wastes are stored.

"The situation is critical. The zone is burning," he wrote in a Facebook post.

"Local authorities report that everything is under control, but in fact fire rapidly captures new territories."


The first blaze started on April 4 weekend after locals set fire to grass on the edge of the "exclusion zone" of 2600 square kilometers, which permits people to live within 30 kilometers of the plant.

More than 300 firefighters are fighting to control it before it hits the plant and discarded equipment used to clean up on April 26, 1986, after the plant's No. 4 reactor blew up.

Strong winds have hindered their attempts, which are now blowing towards the country's capital Kiev, 100 km south of the exclusion zone.

The winds have caused concerns of radiation.

Environmental ists are concerned about the fires leaking radiation from the ground, be picked up by wind and spreading across the countryside.

However, the Ukrainian authorities refuted the danger and said that the levels in Kiev "did not exceed natural background levels".

Kateryna Pavlova, acting head of Ukraine's State Agency for Exclusion Zone Management, told the Associated Press that "cannot say the fire is contained".

"We have been working all night digging firebreaks around the plant to protect it from fire."

The agency plans to waterbomb the fires to control the spread.

Image: This picture taken on April 5, 2020, shows a person holding a Geiger counter at the scene of a forest fire at a 30-kilometer (19-mile) Chernobyl exclusion zone, not far from the nuclear power plant. - Ukrainian authorities on April 5 reported a spike in radiation levels in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident, caused by a forest fire. "There is bad news - radiation is above normal in the fire's center," Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine's state ecological inspection service, said on Facebook. (Photo by Yaroslav EMELIANENKO / AFP) (Photo by YAROSLAV EMELIANENKO/AFP via Getty Images) (YAROSLAV EMELIANENKO/AFP/Getty Images)