Wildfires in Chornobyl-affected areas may raise radioactive clouds
Moscow, August 6 (Interfax) - A senior officer at one of the world's largest environmental groups on Friday confirmed fears expressed by Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry on Thursday, August 5, that wildfires in Bryansk and other Russian areas affected by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster may raise radioactive fallout lying in the soil into the air.
"There are radioactive substances in the upper layer of the soil in Bryansk forests and in forest areas in the regions of Lipetsk, Kaluga and Tula. They are remainders of the radioactive cloud that was coming from the accident zone at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986," Nikolai Shmatkov, a forestry projects coordinator at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), told a news conference.
"The government should pay a great deal of attention to the protection not only of military bases and science towns but of those places as well," he said.
On Thursday, August 5, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that more intensive fire prevention work was under way in Russian regions affected by Chornobyl.