Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Toxic time-bomb?

Contaminated forests around closed Chernobyl nuclear plant are fire, health risk

This article was published on .
It’s been nearly 30 years since the catastrophic nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, but—thanks to global warming and a lack of management—the region’s forests could be the source of future disaster.

Since 1986, the trees in a 660-square-mile area around the closed nuclear plant have been absorbing radioactive elements such as cesium-137, plutonium-238 and strontium-90, which would be released into the atmosphere should there be a forest fire, according to The Daily Climate.

Given that the region is experiencing longer and drier summers, and that the mostly pine forests of Chernobyl have become severely overgrown due to virtual abandonment, experts believe the conditions are ripe for a huge fire that would spread contamination over a wide area.