Ukraine says fire near Chernobyl plant has been put out

KIEV, Apr 14 (Reuters) – Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday that the large fire that swept through forests near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant managed to be put out, after hundreds of emergency workers used planes and helicopters to fight the flames.

Environmental activists said Monday that the fire, which occurred near the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history in 1986 and is believed to have originated deliberately, posed a radiation risk.

Officials said they recorded short-term increases in Celsium-137 particles in the Kiev area, south of the plant, but that the radiation levels were within overall normal limits and did not require additional protective measures. . They did not explain why these levels rose.

Aided in part by the rain, emergency services managed to prevent the flames from spreading to the area’s plant or military facilities, although it will take a few more days to extinguish them entirely, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said in a statement. .

For its part, the state agency responsible for managing the area around silver said new fires broke out in the west and south of the site. Its extent was not immediately clear.

The main focus, one of several that came after unusually dry weather, was unleashed on April 3.

Police accused a 27-year-old boy of deliberately starting the fire, and Zelenskiy’s office said officers arrested suspected arsonists near two points where the flames started.

The Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine under the control of the Soviet Union occurred on April 26, 1986. It was caused by a failed reactor safety test and sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe.

The plant and the abandoned neighboring town of Pripyat have become a magnet for tourism, especially after the miniseries aired last year by HBO on the incident.

(Written by Matthias Williams; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)