The territory of Luninets airfield is being expanded, but it’s dangerous: there is an increased level of radioactive contamination

Illustrative photo
5 mins

Yesterday, August 17, a Belarusian publication Radio Svaboda published fresh satellite images of the airfield in Luninets (Brest region) made on August 7 by Planet Labs.

The territory of Luninets airfield is being expanded, but it’s dangerous: there is an increased level of radioactive contamination

Satellite image of Luninets airfield made by Planet Labs / Radio Svaboda

The images show a significant expansion of the airfield’s area: they are cutting down the forest, demolishing old hangars, and clearing areas for the construction of new facilities. The construction itself is very interesting, as we know that the work began back in April. But what is more important is that it’s taking place in an area with a high level of radioactive contamination.

This issue was studied by Sergei Besarab, a former researcher of the National Academy of Science of Belarus, who says that Luninets is in the zone with a contamination density of 0.5-1 Curie/km². The wood that is being cut down contains an exceeding of Cesium-137, and more precisely, according to the chemist, the forest around the airfield has a contamination level of ~200 Bq/kg (i.e. not normal).

The territory of Luninets airfield is being expanded, but it’s dangerous: there is an increased level of radioactive contamination

«The soils there are poor, the forests are mostly pine, so the cesium is perfectly leached from the soil and accumulates in the wood. And the radionuclides in combustion perfectly transfer from such pine wood into an easily absorbable, through human lungs, uniform. There’s even no need to mention the radiation control of the lumber,» Besarab wrote.

На русском языке: На Лунинецком аэродроме расширяют территорию, но дело это опасное — там повышенный уровень радиоактивного загрязнения
На беларускай мове: На Лунінецкім аэрадроме пашыраюць тэрыторыю, але справа гэта небяспечная — там павышаны ўзровень радыеактыўнага забруджвання

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