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Workers say unprotected Russian soldiers disturbed radioactive dust in Chernobyl’s “Red Forest”

  • Two workers on the scene when Russian troops ruled
  • Russian soldiers, experts without protective equipment
  • The site was named when the trees turned red after the 1986 explosion.
  • Russia said after capturing radiation within normal levels
  • The IAEA said that radiation did not pose a threat to the population at the time.

London, March 28 (Reuters)-Russian soldiers occupying the scene of the Chernobyl accident drive an armored vehicle in a highly toxic zone called the “Red Forest” without radiation protection and kick a cloud of radioactive dust. Raised, said field workers.

According to two sources, convoy soldiers were not using anti-radar equipment. A second Chernobyl employee said it was “suicide” for soldiers, as inhaled radioactive dust could cause internal radiation inside the body.

Ukrainian national nuclear inspectors said on February 25 that heavy military vehicles had disturbed the soil, resulting in higher radiation levels in Chernobyl, but details of what had happened so far have been revealed. There wasn’t.

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Two Ukrainian workers who spoke with Reuters continued to oversee the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel and the concrete-covered debris of the reactor when Russian tanks entered Chernobyl on February 24. I was working when I managed the site. It exploded in 1986.

Both men said they had witnessed Russian tanks and other armored vehicles passing through the Red Forest, the most radioactively contaminated part of the zone around Chernobyl, about 100 km (65 miles) north of Kyiv.

He said the regular soldiers he spoke to when one of the workers was working with them at the facility had not heard of the explosion.

A comment was asked on the report from a Chernobyl official, but the Russian Defense Ministry did not respond.

Russian troops said the radiation was within normal levels after the plants were captured and their actions prevented the possibility of a “nuclear provocation” by Ukrainian nationalists. Russia has previously denied that its troops have endangered nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

No trespassing

The place was named when tens of square kilometers of pine trees turned red after absorbing radiation from the 1986 explosion, one of the worst nuclear disasters in the world.

The vast area around Chernobyl is off limits to those who are not working there or without special permission, but the Red Forest is considered highly polluted, so nuclear power plant labor. Not even one can go there.

Two employees said Russian convoys had passed through the zone, and one said they had used an abandoned road.

“A large convoy of military vehicles drove along the road just behind our facility, which passed through the Red Forest,” said one source.

“The convoy kicked a large pillar of dust. Many radiation safety sensors showed that they were above the level,” he said.

Valerie Seida, acting director of the Chernobyl plant, did not see the Russian convoy enter the Red Forest because he was not there at the time, but witnesses said that Russian military vehicles were excluded from all areas. I drove there and passed through the Red Forest.

“No one goes there … for God. No one is there,” Seida told Reuters.

He said factory workers told Russian service personnel that they should be careful about radiation, but he was unaware of the evidence that they had paid attention.

“They drove wherever they needed it,” Seida said.

After the arrival of Russian troops, the two factory workers worked with colleagues for almost a month and were allowed to return home last week when the Russian commander allowed some staff to be replaced.read more

Reuters was unable to verify its account on its own.

They were interviewed by phone on Friday on condition of anonymity for fear of safety. The next day, Russian troops seized the town of Slavutych near Chernobyl.

Mayors Seida and Slavutych said on Monday that Russian troops had left the town.read more

Radiation rise

Reuters was unable to independently establish radiation levels for those in the immediate vicinity of the Russian convoy that entered the Red Forest.

The Ukrainian State Administration’s exclusion zone was recorded on February 27, before losing control of the surveillance system with sensors near the radioactive waste storage facility, the last record showing that the absorbed dose was seven times higher than normal. Said showed. ..

On February 25, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached a radiation level of 9.46 microsieverts per hour at Chernobyl site, but remained “in range” recorded in the exclusion zone from the moment of its creation. , General population.

According to the IAEA standards posted on the institution’s official website, the safety level is up to 1 millisievert per year for the general population and 20 millisieverts per year for those who specialize in radiation. One millisievert is equivalent to 1,000 microsieverts.

On March 9, the IAEA said it had stopped receiving surveillance data from the Chernobyl site, but on Monday there was no reaction to the workers’ allegations.

The Chernobyl exclusion zone is still considered dangerous by Ukrainian authorities, and entering the disaster area without permission is a crime under Ukrainian law.

In the weeks when the two factory personnel were sharing the complex with the Russian army, they also said they saw them not using any equipment to protect them from radiation.

Radiation-trained Russian military experts said workers did not arrive at the scene until about a week after the arrival of the Russian army, and Russian experts also said they were not wearing protective equipment. rice field.

One of the employees said he had spoken to some common Russian soldiers at the factory.

“When asked if they knew about the 1986 catastrophe, the explosion of Block 4 (of the Chernobyl power plant), they had no clue. They didn’t know what facility they were in.” He said.

“We talked to regular soldiers. All they heard was’it’s a very important infrastructure.’That’s it,” said the man.

Preparing for power

A description of the Russian army at the Chernobyl chime and other evidence suggesting that the invading forces dispatched to Ukraine were not fully prepared for what they encountered.

The Kremlin states that what is called a special military operation in Ukraine is planned and is proceeding as planned.

However, Ukrainian authorities and their western allies say Russia’s first plunge into Ukrainian territory has come to a standstill after facing logistics problems and more severe Ukrainian resistance than expected.

Russia initially said that only professional soldiers were dispatched, but reversed itself, recruited men were inadvertently deployed, and some were taken prisoner.read more

According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russian soldiers often communicate using radio frequencies and mobile phones. That is, Kyiv’s army can eavesdrop on conversations.

Video footage shared on Ukrainian social media showed multiple cases of Russian military vehicles that were not damaged by the battle but were abandoned after they broke down or ran out of fuel.

Washington estimates that some of the precision-guided missiles Russia is using to attack Ukraine suffer from a failure rate of as high as 60%, three U.S. officials with knowledge of the information said. I told Reuters last week.

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Edited by Allison Williams

Our Criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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