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Pravda Says No Traces of Contamination Found in Dnieper Fish

June 8, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Communist Party daily Pravda said Sunday that fish in the Dnieper River show no traces of contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear accident and anglers will be allowed to fish in the river once the spawning season ends next Saturday.

Fish taken from the Dnieper, which flows from a reservoir just south of the damaged power station in the northern Ukraine, showed no traces of higher radiation in their gills, interior organs, fins or tails, Pravda said.

Soviet officials have asserted that the radiation released after the April 26 explosion has not contaminated any drinking water and that new wells are being drilled only as a precaution in case the rainy season washes contaminants into existing water sources.

Pravda said swimming, fishing and berry and mushroom picking are still prohibited within the 18-mile danger zone surrounding the Chernobyl station.

The newspaper said rumors about dangers from swimming or fishing in other areas are understandable, since part of the river flows through the danger zone. But it said regular checks of the water are being conducted and that the Ukrainian Ministry of Health has deemed it safe to swim, fish and otherwise relax around the waters of the Dnieper.

Sunday newspapers reported few new details of the accident, which has killed at least 26 people, or the massive decontamination effort under way.

Sovietskaya Rossiya, a party publication, carried a story about the warm welcome accorded one evacuated Chernobyl family in Omsk, where the head of the family, Valentin Kornienko, has been given work at another power station.

The labor newspaper Trud published an article on work being done to seal the ruined No. 4 reactor in concrete, and mentioned that a new construction department chief, Vladimir Gora, has been appointed at the power station. The report gave no indication whom Gora replaced or why the change was made.

Previous newspaper reports said army sappers have completed a tunnel and pipeline to carry cement below the No. 4 reactor, but no estimates have been made public on when the salvage workers expect to have the reactor entombed.

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