Monitoring system isn’t working in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, nuclear company says

The automated radiation monitoring system in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is not working, Ukraine’s state nuclear company announced Monday, raising fears about one of the most radioactive places in the world.

The vast land around the Chernobyl power plant, site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, has been closely watched since Russian forces seized it in late February during their invasion of Ukraine.

In a post on the Telegram messaging app Monday, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said that there was no data on “the current state of radiation pollution in the Exclusion Zone, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats of deterioration of radiation situations in the Exclusion Zone.”

It could negatively affect the nuclear situation in Ukraine as well as other countries, Energoatam said, adding that fire services that extinguish forest fires in the Exclusion Zone are currently unable to do so.

“There is a high probability that in the spring and summer the intensity of forest fires in the Exclusion Zone may reach the maximum possible limits, which will lead (in the absence of any fire measures) to almost complete burning of radioactively contaminated forests in the Exclusion Zone and, consequently, to significant deterioration of radiation in Ukraine and throughout Europe,” the post read.

Chernobyl, about 60 miles from Kyiv, was home to the worst nuclear disaster in the world. An area of approximately 1,000 square miles around the catastrophe site was then designated an off-limits radioactive “exclusion zone” that, despite the continued absence of human residents, has since become home to some wildlife.

Despite decades passing since the disaster, elements still in the air continue to pose harm.