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Place in news: Chernobyl 

  • IASbaba
  • February 26, 2022
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Place in news: Chernobyl 

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations and GS-III Man-made Disaster

Context: Ukrainian authorities have said that radiation levels had increased in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and warned the seizure of the nuclear plant by invading Russian troops could have terrible consequences.

Key takeaways 

  • Ukrainian authorities also said that they had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that they had lost control of highly radioactive fuel rods from the power plant.
  • Ukrainian Environment Ministry also pointed out that this significant amount of plutonium-239 can become a nuclear bomb that will turn thousands of hectares into a dead, lifeless desert.

About Chernobyl 

  • After a brief but fierce battle, Russian troops were able to capture the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.
  • Located around 16 km away from the city of Chernobyl and a little over 100 km away from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, the power plant witnessed the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
  • The disaster occurred between April 25-26, when a group of technicians in what was then Soviet-controlled Ukraine carried out a botched safety test that led to a series of explosions at Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 and a partial meltdown of its core. 
  • The explosions exposed the core and released clouds of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
  • It is said to have released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan.
  • In fact, the catastrophe is considered one of the key factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.

Why did Russia capture Chernobyl? 

  • Seizing Chernobyl was a strategic decision that gave Russian troops quick and easy access to Kyiv from Belarus, which is an ally of Moscow. 
  • By capturing Chernobyl, Russia has secured a route into Ukraine for its ground forces.

News Source: TH

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