Explainer: Why is Chernobyl nuclear power plant important?   

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: Feb 25, 2022, 05:05 PM(IST)

Chernobyl nuclear power plant holds great importance (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

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Russia is using fastest invasion route from Belarus, which is a staging ground for Russian troops, to Kyiv, said Western military analysts, regarding seizing Chernobyl. In April 1986, the fourth reactor at Chernobyl, which is 67 miles (108 km) north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, exploded during a botched safety test

Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which has been captured by Russian forces, holds great importance.

It is not just the site of the world's worst nuclear accident but also seems to be a factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is still radioactive.   

The defunct plant is the site of a deadly fire and explosion in 1986.  Let’s explore why Chernobyl is crucial.  

Chernobyl is located on the shortest route from Belarus to Ukrainian capital Kyiv.   

Also Read: Russian forces capture Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, says official

Russia is using fastest invasion route from Belarus, which is a staging ground for Russian troops, to Kyiv, said Western military analysts, regarding seizing Chernobyl.  

"It was the quickest way from A to B," said James Acton from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.   

In April 1986, the fourth reactor at Chernobyl, which is 67 miles (108 km) north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, exploded during a botched safety test. It had sent clouds of radiation billowing across much of Europe. It reached the eastern United States.  

Also Read: For 'premeditated' Ukraine conflict, US, UK hit Russia with new sanctions

The catastrophe seems to have contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union just a few years later.  

Ukraine's other reactors are not in exclusion zones. They also contain nuclear fuel, which is a lot more radioactive. "The risks of fighting around them are significantly higher," Acton said.   

The 2,600-square kilometre 'exclusion zone' at the plant, where security is much weaker than at other points along Ukraine's international borders, made it the primary target, as per experts. 

The capture of Chernobyl may also be a signal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the West and NATO to not interfere with his plans. 

As per experts, Russians also want to ensure that nuclear safeguards are in place and they will not be responsible for any accidents.  

And that they won't give the Ukrainians an opportunity to blow up the damaged reactor number four, which blew up back in 1986 as an act of defensive deterrence to contaminate the nearby areas to halt the rapid advance of the Russian military, added analysts. 

(With inputs from agencies) 

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