Increased radioactivity levels from fires in Belarus and Ukraine? (19 May 2000)

Increased radioactivity levels from fires in Belarus and Ukraine?

19 May 2000

According to reports by Reuters and PlanetArk dated 16 and 18 May 2000 the wildfires burning in terrain radioactively contaminated after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986 have led to an increase of radiation levels in Belarus (see GFMC update of 16 May 2000). There is no satellite or ground truthing available on the state of fires and radioactivity. Belarus operates an automated network of fire and radiation detection systems on observation towers. The network is not connected to foreign station.

For additional information on the problem of fires burning on radioactively contaminated areas and the re-distribution of radioactively contaminated particles by the wind – as it happened in 1992 – see two earlier reports published via the GFMC:

Dusha-Gudym, S.I. 1992. Forest Fires on the Areas Contaminated by Radionuclides from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident. Int. Forest Fire News No.7, 4.

More detailed scientific information on fires burning in contaminated terrain: see

Dusha-Gudym, S.I. 1996. The effects of forest fires on the concentration and transport of radionuclides. In: Fire in ecosystems of boreal Eurasia (J.G.Goldammer and V.V.Furyaev, eds.), 476-480. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.

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