The Ukrainian government warned Friday that radiation near the Chernoybl nuclear power plant has \u0022exceeded\u0022 control levels, a day after the Russian military took control of the area during its ongoing invasion, which has reached the capital of Kyiv.\r\n\r\n\u0022We are in an unprecedented situation, with, for the first time, a war happening in a region where there are operating nuclear reactors.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said that local experts\u0026nbsp;attribute\u0026nbsp;the increased gamma radiation dose rate to the \u0022disturbance of the top layer of soil from [the] movement of a large number of radio heavy military machinery through the Exclusion zone and increase of air pollution.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The condition of Chernobyl nuclear facilities and other facilities is unchanged,\u0022 according to Ukrainian officials.\r\n\r\nRussian officials, meanwhile, continue to insist that radiation levels are normal, the Washington Post reported Friday.\r\n\r\n\u0022Radiation levels are normal in the NPP [nuclear power plant] area,\u0022 said Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov. \u0022The NPP personnel continue to operate the power plant as usual and to monitor radiation levels.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe 1986 meltdown of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl left the 1,000-square mile region surrounding the decommissioned power plant one of the most radioactive places on the planet, with large amounts of nuclear waste stored underground\u0026nbsp;and on site.\r\n\r\nUkrainian Interior Minister Anton Herashchenk warned Thursday that \u0022if the invader\u0026#039;s artillery hits and ruins/damages the collectors of nuclear waste, radioactive nuclear dust can be spread over the territory of Ukraine, Belarus, and the [countries] of the E.U.\u0022\r\n\r\nAccording to Dmytro Gumenyuk, a nuclear safety expert based in Kyiv, Russian or Ukrainian forces could accidentally hit sensitive facilities, causing radiation to \u0022contaminate air, soil, and waterways, affecting not only Ukraine but also Russia and much of Europe.\u0022\r\n\r\nOn Thursday morning, the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that \u0022if Russia continues the war, Chernobyl can happen again in 2022.\u0022\r\n\r\nPrior to the military attack ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, nuclear energy specialists joined members of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War—a coalition of medical groups that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its non-proliferation work—to sound the alarm about a potential nuclear \u0022catastrophe\u0022 in Ukraine that could have horrific consequences for all of Europe—and potentially the entire planet.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOther nuclear experts, such as Bennett Ramberg, have also demanded deescalation to avert a deadly calamity.\r\n\r\n\u0022Of all the obvious dangers that come with war, one of the most far-reaching in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict has been woefully underappreciated. Even if commanders took pains to avoid striking Ukraine\u0026#039;s 15 nuclear power reactors, that might not be enough to avoid a catastrophe,\u0022 Ramberg wrote in an op-ed for Project Syndicate last week.\r\n\r\n\u0022Should a major release of radioactivity occur due to the damage or destruction of any one of the country’s 15 reactors, the scale of the disaster would escalate to unimaginable proportions.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The reactors present a daunting specter. If struck, the installations could effectively become radiological mines. And Russia itself would be a victim of the ensuing wind-borne radioactive debris,\u0022 he observed. \u0022Were a reactor core to melt, explosive gases or belching radioactive debris would exit the containment structure.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Once in the atmosphere, the effluents would settle over thousands of miles, dumping light to very toxic radioactive elements on urban and rural landscapes,\u0022 added Ramberg. \u0022And spent nuclear fuel could cause further devastation if storage pools were set afire.\u0022\r\n\r\nJoining the global chorus of voices demanding a peaceful resolution to Putin\u0026#039;s war on Ukraine, Beyond Nuclear said Friday in a statement that \u0022should a major release of radioactivity occur due to the damage or destruction of any one of the country’s 15 reactors, the scale of the disaster would escalate to unimaginable proportions.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We are in an unprecedented situation, with, for the first time, a war happening in a region where there are operating nuclear reactors,\u0022 said Beyond Nuclear. \u0022This presents an extreme risk to human life unlike any we have seen in previous wars, even when traditional infrastructure has been bombed and destroyed.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs the group pointed out, \u0022a war zone could also create a dangerous environment for the nuclear workforce and their families, tempting some to evacuate. But a nuclear power plant, even under daily, routine operations, is not walkaway safe and cannot be abandoned. This presents a terrible, and sacrificial choice that should not have to be made.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The situation in Ukraine is unacceptable at a time when humanity should be coming together to take on our collective existential threat—the climate crisis,\u0022 added Beyond Nuclear. \u0022The situation in Ukraine brings home all too clearly that nuclear power plants are a dangerous liability and certainly not a solution to the climate crisis.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis post has been updated with comment from Beyond Nuclear.