There’s no indication yet that the reported radioactive leak at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine is anything like the deadly Chernobyl disaster of 1986, but this latest incident is said to have occurred less than a day’s drive from where the world’s worst nuclear accident left tens of thousands dead or dying.
Ukraine’s Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is the largest such nuclear facility in Europe. That’s where a media report, citing the country’s emergency services, claims that levels of radiation are 16 times the legally permitted norm because of a radioactive leak.
Details about the accident are sketchy in a post at rt.com, which relies on reporting by LifeNews:
LifeNews published a leaked report by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, which denies an earlier assessment by the plant’s authorities that the radiation at the facility is equal to the natural background following an incident on Sunday.
What could lend credence to this latest report of a radioactive leak at the nuclear plant are recent incidents involving reactors at the Zaporizhia facility in southeastern Ukraine.
On Sunday, one reactor at the plant was automatically shut down after a glitch, becoming the second halt in operations in recent weeks.
Only days ago, the country’s energy minister assured people in the area that a minor accident at the nuclear plant posed no danger to public health.
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Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said the accident…was caused by a short circuit in its power outlet system. The incident was “in no way” linked to power production, he told a news conference.
“There is no threat … there are no problems with the reactors,” said Demchyshyn.
The Chernobyl disaster nearly 30 years ago in northern Ukraine left a dark and indelible stain on the history of nuclear power production:
Ukraine, Belarus and Russia estimated the death toll from the disaster at Chernobyl at a few thousand while environmental group Greenpeace says the accident will eventually cause up to 93,000 extra cancer deaths worldwide.
Again, there’s no indication that this latest nuclear incident in Ukraine is anything like what happened in 1986, some nine hours drive to the north.