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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chernobyl Fines May Be Toughened

Kiev — Ukraine's government will ask the parliament to toughen fines for sneaking food, building materials and other items out of the irradiated zone near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an emergency official said Tuesday.

Ukraine continues to enforce a 50-kilometer exclusion zone around the plant, where reactor No. 4 exploded in 1986 in the world's worst nuclear accident. The zone is patrolled by Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry, and special permission is needed to enter.

But Emergency Situations Ministry Nestor Shufrych said his ministry, responding to concerns, decided to increase fines, in some cases tripling them, for citizens and officials caught illegally spiriting items out of the zone. The parliament must approve the changes.

Fears run high in Ukraine and Russia that items from the Chernobyl region, where many had to abandon household belongings, and contaminated foods such as berries and mushrooms are being sold to unsuspecting buyers.