Smog may be followed by radiation

Feature story - 10 August, 2010
Greenpeace today published a map showing that wildfires are spreading across the radiation contaminated forests.

Map of the forest fires in the radiation contaminated areas in Russia

The map was generated using the map data of The International Atomic Energy Agency and information provided by the international fire monitoring system Fire Information for Resource Management based on MODIS satellite images.

The map based on data acquired on August 9th clearly depicts that nuclear contaminated areas suffer from more than 20 fires. At least 3 blazes hit the highly contaminated forests of Bryansk region.

Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday "there were only two fires in Bryansk region but they were extinguished at an early stage". "If the fires spread over this area they may re-release nuclear contamination from the Chernobyl disaster into the air and a new contaminated area will appear".

"The radioactivity level may rise but not in levels caused by the Chernobyl disaster. But I wouldn't underestimate the exposure risk as we know little about the health effects of CO and low-dose radiation combination", said Vladimir Chouprov, Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Russia.

Alexander Frolov, head of the Federal Meteorological Service, said official archives have found that this year's heat wave is the worst in 1,000 years.

«I would add to this that the Russian forest management system and the terrible forest law that caused the wildfires disaster are the worst in 1,000 years. And the biggest mistake we can do now is to blame the heat wave only", said Sergey Tsyplenkov, Greenpeace Russia Executive Director.

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