Chernobyl Grass Fires (End of June, Begin of July – 2015) – A Quick Look + Update

July 3, 2015 – 1:08 am MDT – in the Colorado Rockies, USA

Disclaimer & Shortlink:

[Scroll down for main post, further below. — Added Update: July 3, 2015 9:09 am MDT (just after 5 pm in Europe) – Never a good sign:  Following Romania (screenshot of its delay further down), Italy has now imposed a 24+ hour delay in public data sharing as well:

ItalyJoinsTheDataSIlenceA sampling of some more monitors:

SanCataldoItalia TuscanyItaly SOuthernItaly PatraGreece Italy_DataGaps SLovakia

Just for the record: EURDEP’s disclaimer, which makes it sound that WHEN there is a radiological incident… there’s isn’t one.  “Go back to sleep, Europe.”eurdep_disclaimer_july3_2015

——-original post as follows:———-

I haven been following the news much recently, but a comment on a recent post notified me of wild lands contaminated with radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Northwestern Ukraine are on fire again.

For some monitoring options, see Online Radiation Monitors.  The page Radiation Units and Conversions may be helpful to make sense of the reported.

I’ll check on wind data in a sec (further down), and see if the European Commission’s radiation monitoring network is working according to the IAEA’s wishes again (namely, blocking out any troubling data when it actually matters…).

First, my older blog posts (listed also in my Nuclear Blog Post Archive) on the forest fires at the end of April 2015 contain lots of information, such as detailed fallout deposition maps, that can help other researchers estimate what may be in that smoke:

Recent News of new fires: 

“The fire broke out at 17.10 p.m. (1410GMT) on Monday [June 29, 2015] near the villages of Kovshilovka and Polesskoye (same as Poliske, I think) in the flood plain of the Uzh River.” July1_2015ChernobylFireAreaYou can use that dip in the southern border of Belarus as a reference point and see that the contamination in the burning area varies, including extremely badly contaminated hot spots.

To repeat from my May 16 post, here are deposition maps for Plutonium-239/240/241 and Cesium-137:

Plutonium_1998_Ukraine_KyotoStudy Cs137_1998_Ukraine_KyotoStudy

!->  Regional gamma radiation monitoring (just added to my Ukraine Radiation Monitors page), @ showed these (H= nanoSievert/hr) values, as checked on July 3, 2015 @ 3:30am UTC:

Note:  Dose rates are highly deceptive to estimate fallout dangers.  To better understand some basics of why, see ‘The Dose Deception‘, ‘K40 versus Cs137‘, and… !-> also keep in mind that many dangerous synthetic radioisotopes decay in Beta and Alpha radiation (which is far more health-hazardous when inhaled or ingested), which don’t even (or often barely) affect the gamma dose rate monitors. 

Alright… Nullschool for wind…  Looks like in the beginning it blew into Ukraine (likely even straight into Kiev and beyond), and if it didn’t rain out over the Ukraine (possibly creating new hot spots), then it brew south over the Black Sea with one wind arm taking it to Crimea and definitely into Russia from there; and the other wind arm blowing west and likely into Bulgaria: Nullschool)ChernoFire_June29_2015_1Later on the wind turned a bit.  Most of Western and Northern Europe looks like it was be spared this, but it looks like in the past 4 days…  some South-Eastern European countries, in particular the fine folks of Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, may have been breathing traces of airborne nuclear waste… Nullschool.ChernoFire_June29_2015_2Alright, that at least gives me an rough idea of where to check the EURDEP monitors… Hard to interpret data gaps, but if it means what I suspect it means, then it looks like Greece was hit first, then the high pressure over Romania-Hungary pulled the delivery route  north, bringing the nuclear industry’s gift to humanity (future cancers, leukemia, heart diseases, mental ailments, immune system disruption, etc.) to Hungary, Romania and surroundings. Romania has imposed a 24+ delay in its data reporting, as obvious on the data for the last 24 hours: July3_2015_EURDEPgammaLast(Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova are not plugged into to the EURDEP data sharing network.) A couple monitor screenshots from EURDEP’s Public Map, which their disclaimer makes clear you should take with a grain of salt [sarc.]: Lamia_Greece_gamma_July3.2015_1wk –> “Hmm…” A little strange, isn’t that?  The data gaps starts before the fires supposedly started… Hmm…Constanta_Romania_July3_2015_1week_gamma Salonica_Greece BotevPeak_Bulgaria_July3_2015_1week_gammaAnyways, you can find gaps like that this week all over that region. But… to put it into context… here’s a MONTH graphs, which show that such gaps happened also when there were no known incidents: VidinBulgaria_1monthYou can find examples of that all over the place as well.  The little spikes are likely mostly natural, as Beryllium-7 and Potassium-40, and some other natural ones rain out off and on.

As most of you already know,  I think these ongoing gaps are often caused by that one big sinking sun on a Pacific beach we’re not supposed to think about…   I think Fukushima is still leaking large amounts of radioactive gasses and particles into the atmosphere.   I even think it is still fissioning (some blog posts on that further down).   Yet it’s going to become really hard to pin-point where what is coming from as accidents just compound each other.  Releases from Blayais in France last week, for instance, or all the various little refuelings, and the various cover-ups of radioactive clouds we’re not supposed to even know about (like Zaporizhia NPP last December 2014),… Put it all together and you get a pretty gloomy picture for what’s in store for the next generations…

The Cs-137 and I-131 monitor on Cyprus has not yet gone back into data gap nor spike mode.  Here showing the past two months of Cs-137:


Now, what I find somewhat more curious is that Iceland’s entire network (4 monitors) went off-line, and wind-patterns make it obvious that this has nothing to do with the latest Chernobyl fires this time:

Reykiavik_IcelandIn fact… Hm….   Other monitors in the north show curious data gaps too:

Mehamn_NorwayOdd… not?  And then when you check the northern hemisphere jet stream patterns…,91.01,274 …  you can also see that if Fukushima fallout were arriving to the European scene by jet stream delivery… it would actually be merging with the smoke from the Chernobyl fires and affecting the same areas.

nullschool_250hpa_july3_2015_0000etcSee… I know this is “out there”, but…

Given the fires were set by arsonists last time… how the smoke moved was covered up by the IAEA-alligned governments (and they raised some nice money while they were coincidentally fundraising for the Chernobyl’s decommissioning),…   [Don’t forget that part of this industry is driven by the desire to maintain the capacity to flash-incinerate hundreds of thousands of people at the push of a button.  And that it’s “peaceful” wing has very little regard for future generations either.  We’re talking about the greediest most heart-detached alienated deranged psychopaths here – Just saying…]  … I wouldn’t even be surprised if these fires in the Chernobyl region are set on purpose, sometimes perhaps to distract from attention to the fallout from Fukushima reaching Europe.

Some more “stuff to entertain you” can be found by clicking the ‘Nuclear’ tab at the top.  Some recent ones include:


Also added (July 3, 2015):  Blog traffic! ;-D


Bulgaria uptick

After France (16), the two most nuclear-powered countries in the world are Belgium (2) & Hungary (2), which, just like data-gagged Italy (1), show almost no blog traffic.  Same for Japan…

Does Japan still exist?   (j/k)


I still wonder about that sometimes…




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7 Responses to Chernobyl Grass Fires (End of June, Begin of July – 2015) – A Quick Look + Update

  1. alchemyarch says:

    Hi Michael , thank you for covering the story and backing-up with so much needed info on the case. Unfortunately, many of us in Bulgaria were unaware about the fire next to Chernobyl fallout site till around 2nd of July in the evening. Social media reacted but the mainstream – not even a word , until 3rd of July when the state agency in charge with environmental and health issues released calming message via public radio etc…. They cited their network of gamma-ray detectors on the territory of Bulgaria showing no significant change. I dont see not even one detector in our vicinity from the euro-web eurdep which traces Cesium particles. There is One in Italy and one in Cyprus , right ? What would you suggest : is there a way the possible consequences from the rain, fallen on let say 30th of June to be measured? Taking samples and using what kind of detectors to trace possible Alpha and Betta radiation particles?
    Martin M

  2. MVB says:

    Hi Martin,

    You’re welcome. I wasn’t aware of it either until I received an email/comment with a request to look into it. The state agencies will always broadcast a “calming message”, even in the worst case scenario. Fact is that generally they can say that there’s “no immediate danger” and technically they’re not lying as the effects tend to come a decade or more later. To some extent I can understand the government’s desire to avoid panic, as radioactivity is so little understood by the general population that no matter what, some people might freak out. I think it would have been wise to recommend kids to stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed, run air filters, and deploy monitors all along the fallout path to find out if hotspots are formed with the government paying for the thorough analysis of thousands of samples (air, rain & soil). As a precaution it is best to wash clothes used those days; and on the days itself it would have been best to shower right away after having been outside. That sort of things. If the pollution was bad enough, some precautions in agricultural areas would be smart too.

    I’m of the view that an educated well-informed public makes the best decisions. But a well-informed public is unlikely to put up with the nuclear industry, so the greedy and misguided folks in charge seem to have opted for simply not educating nor informing people. When it comes to nuclear, the western media is like just as bad as what the Pravda was in Soviet time, it seems.

    There’s monitors in Czech Republic and Finland too. On Eurdep, if you pick an isotope instead of the standard Gamma (which is standard because it’s the least helpful…), you have to change the measured period from 1 day to 1 month, otherwise many of those monitors won’t even show. If they’re turned off, they won’t show either, so by back-clicking through the months you can find the ones that are turned off, and then graph it by clicking on one.

    The main pollutants would likely have been Cesium-137 (a bit of gamma, but mostly decays in beta), Strontium-90 (all beta) and Americium-241 (alpha). And perhaps some Plutonium 239/240/241, although I’m not sure if a regular grass fire can make that heavy element volatile enough to reach very far, but that one would show in gamma. Anyhow, for a mix of Sr90, Cs137 and Am241, gamma detectors would barely react.

    If there were rain-out events, there could be hotspots. It would take lab tests of samples, such as beta spectroscopy to detect and quantify those. A gamma spectroscopy could already reveal many isotopes but is unlikely to be able to quantify the levels, unless it’s extremely bad. If you really want to find out I would study the wind and rain patterns in detail and try to figure out the most likely areas where fallout could have been deposited, then go take soil samples in those areas and send those to a lab. Perhaps samples of large leafy greens, like spinach, as well as milk from cows that grazed on contaminated meadows and bioconcentrate these radiotoxins, would be good to test. As far as figuring out possible effects for the population, concentrating on affected crops and dairy might be the best way to go. In any case, if going that route, make sure the samples are of the weight the lab likes best and that their MDA (minimum detectable amount) is low enough to quantify traces. If you sample the top 10 cm of soil in a 10 cm by 10 cm area, you could calculate the deposition per square meter and get an idea. The more samples tested, the better an idea you could get, as deposition is so erratic that a sample in one area will be different even from even a spot right across the street. If deposition is bad enough, a Geiger Counter would be helpful to find hotspots.

    As for preventative measures, antioxidants (even just extra vitamin C) and Selenium to boost the effectiveness of antioxidants is supposedly helpful. (As also mentioned in Still need to return to that topic at some point…)

    Hope that helps. Be well!


  3. alchemyarch says:

    Hi Michael your answer is really helpful. I would like to translate your answer and perhaps compile a general summary on the case. Hope you do not mind using your words? I will properly cite your name and web site address, please let me know if you prefer specific way for citing you as a source.
    Reaction of locals on these news where mixed- some are sceptical because they remember the delay in the information on Chernobyl accident in 1986, some are so ignorant that they make humorous remarks – and perhaps this is some kind of positive attitude, but the scary part of the story is that nobody in the media challenged the message and data released from the official agencies.
    All of that reminds me on the importance of self-reliance – building your own electric generation system, gardening using aquaponic system , using less energy , lowering the demand for centralised electricity supply . I see no easy exit from this dependency on electrical power. The mainstream media is not helping in spreading the message that development of Renewable Energy generation is crucial to withstand the energy /ecological crisis. Hope educating the younger generation would do the trick.
    Regards, Martin M.

  4. MVB says:

    Hi Martin,
    No problem on quoting and translating when including a link here. Thanks for doing that!

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