The report Wednesday of a second meltdown in the Soviet nuclear disaster released a buying frenzy at American commodity exchanges that sent prices soaring.
Grains, soybeans, livestock, cotton and sugar futures moved higher, with many contracts striking the upward limit allowed for daily trading.
It was the second consecutive day of wild trading and strong price movements attributed to the accident at the Chernobyl reactor site.
The speculation is that radioactive contamination could be settling on important farming regions in concentrations strong enough to sicken livestock, render crops too dangerous to consume, pollute waterways, contaminate milk, make the fields too radioactive to work or to sterilize land for years to come--any or all factors that could increase U.S. exports.
"There's just a lot of uncertainty about what all this will do to production in the Soviet Union and world trading patterns," said Dale Durchholz, an analyst in Chicago with G. H. Miller & Co.
For the first few days of the disaster, the wind blew northwest out of the disaster area.