Chernobyl disaster fears as Norway tells citizens to ‘dust off’ their Cold War bunkers and stock medicines in case of radiation fallout from Ukrainian nuclear power plant

  • Norway has urged citizens to ‘dust off’ and empty their Cold War nuclear bunkers
  • Defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen urged people to stock radiation medicines
  • He said civilians would be given 72 hours notice to prepare their bunkers for use 
  • Comes as officials discuss re-imposing Cold War-era bunker building regulations

Norway has told its citizens to ‘dust off’ their Cold War bunkers and stock radiation medicines in case of a radiation fallout from Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant.  

Oslo’s defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen warned citizens a nuclear disaster could see radioactive materials drift over Norway ‘if the wind goes in this direction’.  

He said civilians would be given 72 hours notice to prepare their bunkers and that ‘if they are using them for storage now they need to make a plan for taking things out’.

Enoksen also urged citizens to stockpile radiation medicines for children and suggested civilians should store a three-day supply of thyroid-blocking medicine Jodix in each home in case of a shutdown during a nuclear disaster. 

The minister said that the warnings were not related to fears of nuclear war but ‘linked to the nuclear power plants in Ukraine and the accidents we have seen.’ 

‘Ukraine has the most production of nuclear power in Europe and if an accident happens, as with Chernobyl, we will all in western Europe be affected by that if the wind goes in this direction,’ he said, The Times reported. 

It comes amid high-level discussions to reimpose Cold War-era building regulations making underground bunkers a requirement for civilian structures, such as hotels, and amid talks about whether some underground shelters needed upgrading.  

Norway has told its citizens to ‘dust off’ their Cold War bunkers and stock radiation medicines in case of a radiation fallout from Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant (pictured)

The minister said that the warnings were not related to fears of nuclear war but ‘linked to the nuclear power plants in Ukraine and the accidents we have seen’ (pictured, the city of Pripyat near Chernobyl which was abandoned after the 1986 disaster)

Oslo’s defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen (pictured right, meeting with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace) warned citizens a nuclear disaster could see radioactive materials drift over Norway ‘if the wind goes in this direction’

Enoksen added that Norwegian authorities ‘do not see any military threat against Norway at the moment but we have a more unpredictable neighbour in the east which we have to watch closer.’

The warning comes days after a senior Ukrainian official accused Russia of ‘irresponsible’ acts around Chernobyl that could send radiation across much of Europe and called on the UN Security Council to take ‘immediate measures’.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Putin’s military ‘poses a very serious threat not only to Ukraine, but also to hundreds of millions of Europeans’ in a Facebook post.

She accused Russia of using ‘old and unconditional ammunition’, creating a risk of damaging the containment vessel constructed around the station’s wrecked fourth reactor.

She also said troops’ occupation of an exclusion zone means firefighters aren’t able to put out blazes in the area, posing a further risk of disaster. 

Using old and badly maintained weapons increases detonation risk ‘even when loading and transporting’, Ms Vereshchuk added, claiming Russian troops carry the equipment through Pripyat, just under two miles away from the power plant.  

‘Further storage of hundreds of tons of ammunition is carried out next to the city of Chernobyl, which is also a short distance from the nuclear power plant,’ she said.

She urged the UN to dispatch a mission to assess the risks, saying Russian forces were ‘militarising’ the exclusion zone around the station, which is the site of the world’s worst civil nuclear accident in 1986.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk (pictured) said Putin ‘s military ‘poses a very serious threat not only to Ukraine, but also to hundreds of millions of Europeans’ in a Facebook post

The Kremlin’s men are also holding the decommissioned Chernobyl plant and as of Tuesday, eight reactors were operating and the rest were shut down for regular maintenance (pictured, Russian tanks at the nuclear reactor in the first days of the war)

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Zaporizhzhia, a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Wednesday to meet Ukrainian officials and provide technical assistance.

Rafael Mariano Grossi said the IAEA is not involved in political talks with the Russians but added the agency was ‘trying to be very active in order to ensure that as soon as possible, the situation is regressed, and the facilities are back in the hands of the Ukrainians.’ 

Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors at four plants, one of which (Zaporizhzhia) is under the Russian military’s control.

The Kremlin’s men are also holding the decommissioned Chernobyl plant and as of Tuesday, eight reactors were operating and the rest were shut down for regular maintenance.

But on Wednesday, US military officials said Russian forces did begin to pull out of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power site north of Kyiv.

‘We think that they are leaving, I can’t tell you that they’re all gone,’ said a US defence official speaking on condition of anonymity. 

It comes as Oslo looks to become NATOs source on the Russian border and steps up purchases of military equipment as Moscow’s war in Ukraine rages into its second month. 

Enoksen has said Oslo is increasing the size of its home guard as well as buying more surveillance equipment including aircraft, tanks and submarines.  

Rafael Mariano Grossi said the IAEA was ‘trying to be very active in order to ensure that as soon as possible, the situation is regressed, and the facilities are back in the hands of the Ukrainians’

Six power units generate 40-42 billion kWh of electricity making the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant the largest nuclear power plant not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe

Fire-damaged buildings at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear complex after coming under attack by Russian forces overnight, leading to international condemnation 

Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear reactors are contained – they have a shell of metal and cement around them. Chernobyl had NO containment around the nuclear reactors. Also, Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear reactors are water-moderated; Chernobyl’s were graphite-moderated. (Nuclear reactor moderators reduce the speed of neutrons and allow a nuclear reaction to be sustained)

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