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The fires in Chernobyl area posing no threat to Lithuania

2016-07-18

Despite information available in the media on the unexpected forests fires in Chernobyl area, Ukraine, the Environmental Research Department at the Environmental Protection Agency has recorded no air pollution in Lithuania and has found no variations in the background radiation.

Neither automatic stations running on gamma dosage power, nor automatic aerosol-based station in Vilnius has found an increase in the background radiation. These stations record actual increase in the background radiation, calling for assessment of possible protection measures. The information available to European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP) suggests no increase in the background radiation in the neighbouring countries.

According to the data available to the Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service under the Ministry of Environment, north western wind should be dominating nationwide during the next week, leading to a minimum probability of pollution originating from Chernobyl reaching Lithuanian territory. According to the weather reports, north western wind is expected by night of 19 July at 4 to 9 m/s, and north western or western at 6–11 m /s during daytime. On 20 July, north western wind is expected at 5–10 m/s. On 21 July, we can expect northern wind at 6–11 m/s.

According to Linas Jonauskas, the vice-minister of Environment, “specialists of the Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service under the Ministry of Environment are tracking the wind direction carefully. There is currently no health hazard to the Lithuanian population. We expect to inform immediately of any changes, even minor, in this field.”

Fires in Chernobyl area were common before, usually followed by an increased volumetric activity of Cs-137 found in the samples of air aerosols, collected in Lithuania; however, the quantities detected were insignificant and posed no threat to the population or the environment. Although the threat is present in the area on fire and neighbouring territories, dissemination takes place during transportation of pollutants, thus preventing any threat to Lithuania.

Communication Division
18 July 2016

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas