Forest fire threatens Russian nuclear sites

RUSSIA: Forest Fire Causes Partial Shutdown of Russian Nuclear Plant 

Source: Agence France Presse, 28 July 2001

The Russian nuclear plant at Voronezh was partially shut down Saturday because of a forest fire nearby, but radiation levels in the area were normal, Russian NTV television reported. The smoke and heat from the fire triggered the plant’s automatic safety system, forcing the shutdown of the fifth reactor in the complex, located 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Moscow, the report said. Strong winds fanned the flames to such an extent that the fire had reached a flammable radioactive storage site outside the plant, but no damage had been caused, the station added. “The automatic security system was triggered and the reactor was turned down to minimum power,” said a Voronezh official. “The situation in block number five is under control and without radioactive effects.” Fireman Sergy Lisovskoi said: “There was no direct threat to the plant, but more for a nearby low-intensity radioactive storage site.” Russian television channels have been screening footage of the plant appearing quite normal. Police said an enquiry would be opened to determine the cause of the fire.

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