Head of SEZA Vitaliy Petruk Told about Radiation Safety and Fire Prevention in the Exclusion Zone

The issues of fire response, preparedness in the Exclusion Zone for fire hazard period in 2017 and radiation safety were announced during the briefing with participation of Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management (SEZA), Vitaliy Petruk, and Director General of State Specialized Enterprise Ecocenter, Serhii Kireev. The briefing was attended by representatives of more than 20 mass media.

The SEZA Head reminded that the main objective of the activities in the Exclusion Zone was to prevent release of radionuclides beyond its borders to ensure safety for personnel of enterprises and the public. Just for this purpose continuous radiation and environmental monitoring is performed, administrative, legal and economic measures are developed and implemented.

According to him, the analysis of forest fires in the Exclusion Zone in recent years has revealed a number of administrative, legal and financial issues to be solved. After this, it will be possible to form a system for forest fire prevention and fighting adequate to Exclusion Zone conditions.

“In order to achieve the maximum efficiency in extinguishing the forest fires in the Exclusion Zone, the SEZA initiated amendments to the legislation that would give the enterprises of the Exclusion Zone and the newly established Chornobyl radiation and ecological biosphere reserve the powers to form departmental fire brigades, as well as to amend emergency classification in the Zone taking into account its potential hazard. These changes will allow forming a reserve of equipment and resources and to use it as quickly as possible during an emergency and as a result to minimize negative impact on the environment and personnel”, Vitaliy Petruk notes.

He also stressed that in order to implement decisions of the State Commission on Technology-Related and Environmental Safety and Emergencies, a number of systematic measures to prevent fires and support relevant infrastructure was developed and implemented jointly with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

Director General of Ecocenter, Serhii Kireev, said that the radiation and environmental monitoring system is an efficient tool to control radiation situation in emergencies. The rapid monitoring is provided by the ARMS, which in the emergency mode present the data on gamma radiation dose rate every 2-3 minutes. Thirteen aspiration devices monitor radiation situation of the lowest atmospheric layer in the locations of personnel and critical areas of the Exclusion Zone according to the radiation factor. A mobile group with dosimetric equipment and a mobile aspiration device work in the firefighting area to assess radiation situation. This allows assessing radiation contamination in a few hours. Radiation and dosimetry monitoring units directly ensure radiation safety in the firefighting area. Their task is to perform immediate monitoring of the radiation situation in situ, monitoring of radioactive contamination of overalls and equipment coming from the firefighting area or leaving the Exclusion Zone. The resources of Ecocenter (dosimetry equipment, personnel, and analytical laboratory capabilities) are sufficient for long-term work in an emergency.

At the end of the briefing, the SEZA Head presented a sketch map of fire prevention measures in the Exclusion Zone agreed according to the established procedure (mostly firebreaks and fire barriers). Enterprise Pivnichna Puchsha is responsible for the implementation of systematic fire prevention. The plan should be implemented during 2017-2026. It should minimize the risk of large-scale fires in the Exclusion Zone and take into account specific features of the Chornobyl radiation and environmental biosphere reserve.

According to the SEZA press service