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Ukrainian PM Says Wildfire Near Chornobyl Contained

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says firefighters have contained a large forest fire burning near the abandoned Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

Yatsenyuk, told a government meeting on April 29 that "as of 1245 (11:45 a.m. Prague time) the fires have been localized and contained. Radiation levels are normal."

The blaze in woodlands, parts of which are still contaminated by radioactive particles from the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, had raised fears of increased radiation in Ukraine and neighboring Belarus as high winds pushed it towards the plant about 20 kilometers.

Emergency services deployed more than 300 firefighters, three planes and one helicopter to battle the blaze, which Yatsenyuk said was the largest in Ukraine since 1992.

An explosion followed by a fire at Chornobyl's Reactor Number 4 on April 26, 1986, sent radiation across Europe.

The stricken reactor is covered by a concrete casement.

A new steel covering is being built in a long-delayed project now expected to be finished by late 2017.

Based on reporting by Reuters and UNIAN

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