Ukraine says Russia has left Chernobyl

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The Russian forces who occupied Chernobyl’s former nuclear power plant have left, according to the plant’s personnel.

Staff at the plant stated there are currently no “outsiders” on the premises, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear corporation Energoatom.  It had previously been reported that some Russian forces had departed for the Belarusian border, leaving a small number behind.  The announcement appears to validate reports of a withdrawal made by senior US defence officials on Wednesday.

At the start of their invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops seized Chernobyl.

In a statement, Energoatom said, “the intruders announced their intentions to evacuate the Chernobyl nuclear power facility this morning.”
Russian troops excavated trenches in the most polluted portion of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, absorbing “high doses” of radiation, according to the business. Some are being treated in Belarus, according to unsubstantiated sources.

According to the Reuters news agency, several of the soldiers were unaware that they were in a radioactive zone.

The Russian military, on the other hand, claimed that after taking the plant, radiation levels remained within normal limits.

While the word “Chernobyl” conjures up images of doom and gloom, nuclear experts have insisted throughout this tale that there is no danger of “another Chernobyl.”

The location does not have a functioning nuclear reactor. Even if buildings containing toxic material were punctured, Prof Claire Corkhill of Sheffield University assured me at the time that “we wouldn’t be talking about plumes of radioactive smoke.”

When Russian military targeted a building at the operational Zaporizhzhia nuclear site on March 4, she was much more concerned. The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) planned a travel to Ukraine in response to the incident, mainly to ask Russian forces to keep nuclear installations out of the line of fire.

“”What we’re concerned about now in Chernobyl is that we haven’t had regular communication between the site and the IAEA, which basically keeps a [safety log] of where any potentially hazardous material is,” Prof Corkhill told me. We must immediately go in and verify that none of the materials are missing.”

Other scientists are concerned about the potential damage to a wildlife preserve that has also become a hub for international research collaboration.

Prof Nick Beresford, who studies the geography of the exclusion zone, says his Ukrainian colleagues aren’t sure if they’ll be able to return to their laboratory. “Over the last roughly 40 years, the zone has become a wildlife refuge,” he noted.

“When people left, a lot of unusual species moved in. We just do not know how this will affect wildlife.”

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