Chornobyl radiation risks after Russian invasion: Greenpeace investigation

Nuclear power plants are exremeley vulnerable industrial facilities in times of war. Even if they are not directly attacked, the loss of electricity or maintenance could have catastrophic consequences. This is also the case with the Chornobyl NPP, which despite having been shut down still has three nuclear waste silos. There is also a 1,000-square-mile exclusion zone with highly contaminated areas which cannot be violated, especially by the military equipment carrying explosives.

The Russian military ignored all these risks when they occupied the Chornobyl NPP in February-March 2022 and turned the premises in a makeshift military base. They violated Geneva Convention, which prohibits any attacks on nuclear infrastructure objects, and as the Security Service of Ukraine found plenty of evidence of, performed what can be rightfully called an act of nuclear terrorism.

Following the retreat of the Russian military from Chornobyl, who on their way out looted the NPP and caused enourmous damage to the equipment and databases, Ukraine is now trying to restore the safety level at the site. It is assisted in this by international organizations, such as Greenpeace, which carried out a limited survey of the exclusion zone of Chornobyl and based on it, called the Russian military occupation of Chornobyl a crime against the environment and the global science. The team said in a statement that radiation levels were “at least” three times higher than the International Atomic Energy Agency estimates, challenging the IAEA’s role on nuclear safety and security in Ukraine.


  • Shaun Burnie, Nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany 
  • Jan Vande Putte, Lead radiation protection specialist Nuclear Expert, Greenpeace Belgium

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