Wildfire threatens Chernobyl nuclear power plant

Ukraine radiation fears

Wildfire Threatens Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Wildfires raged out of control on Tuesday, miles from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

The fire is threatening to release dangerous amounts of radiation over northern Ukraine.

Russian officials say that heavy gusts of wind have fuelled the blaze inside the highly radioactive exclusion zone - the area around the plant that was evacuated fter the 1986 blast.

'The situation is being controlled, but this is the biggest fire since 1992. We've not had this scale of fire,' a government spokesman said. 'It is around 20km (from the fire) to the plant.'

Earlier this year international experts warned a large amount of dangerous isotopes remained in the forests near Chernobyl, which could be spread by fires.

Chernobyl's Reactor 4, the epicentre of the 1986 blast, is covered with a concrete casement that the Ukrainian authorities plan to replace by 2016.

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