According to Ukraine, Russian soldiers are now receiving treatment in Belarus. Russia did not respond to Ukraine’s allegations. The presence of Russian soldiers in a Belarusian hospital for this reason was also not confirmed.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating these allegations. Chernobyl was occupied by Russian forces on the first day of the invasion, six weeks earlier.
Chernobyl: What happened again?
In 1986, one of the four nuclear reactors exploded in Chernobyl, Ukraine. It was the worst nuclear disaster in history. The explosion released a lot of radioactive radiation, killing several thousand people. More than 35 years after the disaster, radiation levels in the Chernobyl region are still dangerously high.
So there is still a lot of radioactive material in the area. But that doesn’t mean Russian soldiers are automatically injured, Turkenberg says.
“You have to do very stupid things to get a lot of radioactive radiation in the area, which makes you sick right away. So you have to look at one of the reactors for a while longer.”
However, it is possible for Russian soldiers to fall ill in the long run from their Chernobyl mission. According to nuclear scientist Jeremy Gordon, this has to do with potential activities in the “exclusion zone”, the area around Chernobyl that is seen as dangerous.
On Twitter Gordon argues that Russians can develop cancer in the long run if they dig in the area, burn forests, or eat animals. As a result, they may have ingested a radioactive substance that was stored in the ground or in nature. These amounts don’t make you sick right away, but they can have long-term consequences.
The international nuclear community will therefore investigate this claim, but it will also consider the current situation with the radiation values at Chernobyl. During the Russian occupation, only minor repairs were made to the reactors for weeks.
Preventing a Greater Nuclear Disaster
More than 35 years after the explosion, hundreds of people still work at Chernobyl. Turkenburg: Three of the four nuclear reactors did not explode. It was the last operating reactor until 2000.”
“These reactors now have to be dismantled little by little for safety reasons, but this releases a huge amount of dangerous radiation. That is why it is a job that will take many years to complete.”
There is also a lot of work to be done about an exploding nuclear reactor. Turkenburg: ”A ark was built around it to prevent radiation from escaping. But there is a mountain of radioactive waste inside and it must be disposed of as well.” The IAEA will hold a “safety mission” in the near future to monitor all levels of radiation and the condition of the reactors.
Then there is the report on the disappearance of radioactive materials from Chernobyl. Materials are stored there that can be used to make nuclear bombs. The fear was that the Russians wanted to use those materials to make “dirty” bombs, but according to Turkenburg, we shouldn’t be afraid of that.
The materials are gone, but in too few quantities to be used to make weapons.
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