KIEV, July 1. /TASS/. Ukraine’s state nuclear inspectorate has identified radiation levels one order of magnitude above the natural background in some spots inside the area affected by fire near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
"In the air sample taken in the area of the fire on the outskirts of the abandoned village of Polesskoye the content of caesium-137 is 0.0025 becquerel per one cubic meter, which is one order of magnitude above the control level set under the current norms of hygiene," the watchdog’s statement said.
"In other words, the data available from the existing systems monitoring the radiation situation in the exclusion zone and adjoining territories indicate the changes in the basic parameters of the radiation situation, except for those in the fire-affected areas, do not exceed the levels acceptable in the given territories. In Kiev, the radiation level is at the level of the natural background," the watchdog said.
The fire in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl NPP occurred on June 29. Dry grass and reed caught fire to spread over an area of about 130 hectares.
Earlier, Ukraine’s emergencies service said a total of 24 fire-fighting vehicles and 117 men are dealing with the fire. A mobile fire-fighting center and prompt reaction group have been formed on site. The emergencies service keeps quiet about whether the fire-fighters’ health inside the exclusion zone are exposed to any major risks.
Caesium-137 is one of the most dangerous radioactive pollutants. It accumulates readily in soil and bottom sediment, as well as in living organisms.