Russia Raising Nuclear Fears With Chernobyl?

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Russian soldiers have captured the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian authorities, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in 1986 — and where massive stores of deadly nuclear waste remain encased as reported by Yahoo.

Ukrainian control lost

“After a fierce battle, Ukrainian control over the Chernobyl site was lost.

The condition of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, confinement, and nuclear waste storage facilities is unknown,” an official at the plant said on Thursday afternoon, several hours after Russian forces moved across the Belarusian border, toward the plant.

He described the move as “a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

When the reactor melted down in April 1986 during a test gone awry, a radioactive cloud covered much of the continent.

Ukraine was then part of the Soviet Union.

Incursion raises fear

The tightly protected Chernobyl Exclusion Zone sweeps in an almost 20-mile radius around the reactor.

Reports indicate that Russian forces have entered the area around Chernobyl across the border with Belarus.

He is believed to have ultimate designs on the seat of power in the capital, Kyiv.

The incursion raised fears that fighting near the reactor could dislodge harmful isotopes that were initially encased in a concrete sarcophagus by the Soviet Union and, more recently, were covered by a more modern protective dome whose cost has been estimated at $1.7 billion.

The construction of the updated shelter was largely funded by Europe.

The Soviet Union collapses

A top Ukrainian official told the New York Times that Ukrainian military troops were “putting up fierce resistance,” but worried that continued fighting could stir up “radioactive dust [that] could cover the territory of Ukraine, Belarus and the countries of the European Union.”

Chernobyl remains profoundly, and painfully, symbolic to Russians and Ukrainians alike.

Given how long radioactive materials retain the ability to cause harm, the land surrounding Chernobyl will remain uninhabitable for perhaps the next 20,000 years.

The combination of incompetence and cruelty that led to the disaster — both vividly portrayed in a recent celebrated HBO miniseries that enraged Russian authorities — saw officials try to hide the extent of the destruction, and is widely seen as having led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, whose image Putin has tried to rehabilitate.

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Source: Yahoo

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