Strong wind has driven the smoke of the smoldering fires around the damaged Chernobyl nuclear power plant into the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. The area is radioactive. “In Kyiv, there is only smoke, no radioactivity,” said Mayor and ex-boxing champion Vitali Klitschko on Friday on Facebook. Kyiv is around 70 kilometers from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The city council had previously advised that the windows should not be closed and that the residents of the city of three million should drink a lot and wipe the interior damp. To bind the dust with incendiary particles, the city irrigated the streets. “Combustion products and smoke from the exclusion zone could not get to Kyiv,” said the head of the Ukrainian weather service, Nikolai Kulbida. Rain is not expected within the next ten days. The organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War was concerned about the fires shortly before the 34th anniversary of the nuclear accident.

According to a statement, the co-chairman Alex Rosen called the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities a “wishful and calming measure for the population”. The organization believes that substantial amounts of radioisotopes have been mobilized. Particles deposited by inhalation in the body could lead to cancer. “As in 1986, the fate of the population depends on the direction of the wind,” the organization underlined. According to data from the German embassy in Kyiv, there is no cause for alarm. “The measured values ​​of radiation exposure are stable and are still below the values ​​of, for example, Berlin-Wannsee,” wrote the embassy in a message to German citizens in Ukraine.

According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the measured values ​​are harmless. The chairman of the Bundestag’s Environment Committee, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, called on the German government to help. “The high radioactive values ​​in the exclusion zone no longer allow any hesitation, the federal government must support the difficult fire-fighting work of the Ukrainian fire department immediately and by all means,” said the Green Party politician. 34 years after the super meltdown, “”a new radioactive cloud over Europe must be prevented.” According to the civil protection service, the extinguishing work in the exclusion zone continued.

With the help of helicopters, around 1,100 firefighters watered embers and tree remains that remained in individual sections. Due to the fire that broke out just under two weeks ago, official information burned down after about 11,500 hectares. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace estimates four times. “A large part of the area has been contaminated with cesium 137, plutonium 239 and strontium 90 since the explosion of the nuclear reactor in 1986,” explained Greenpeace. “So far, there is no data on how much radiation has whirled up and distributed the fire.” Arson is also considered to be the cause of the fire.

In recent years, fires have occurred several times in the uninhabited areas of the zone. After the explosion of unit four in the then Soviet nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in 1986, radioactive areas around the nuclear ruins were closed. Tens of thousands of people have been forcibly relocated. The area has been accessible to guided tourists for several years. Communication City Administration, Ukrainian Communication Civil Protection Service, UkrainianKlitschko, Ukrainian.

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Synthia Rozario
An editorial staff member at The Eastern Herald. Formerly, correspondent of The Eastern Express, Hong Kong.