A “mini-Chernobyl” — that’s how a Czech investigating commission has described the potential threat posed by a chemical plant just north of Prague that was damaged in last week’s flooding in Central and Eastern Europe. The commission warned that the highly toxic chlorine released by the Spolana plant during the floods and again late last week could threaten “many human lives.” Both the gas and liquid forms of chlorine have leaked into the area surrounding the plant, possibly including the Elbe river; in addition, the plant’s alarm system, which was damaged in the flooding, remains out of order. Chlorine can cause respiratory problems and burn skin and eye membranes at low levels, and is lethal in high concentrations. The Spolana plant had been cited for lax safety standards even before the floods caused alarm throughout the region. A spokesperson for the plant rejected the commission’s findings, calling them “exaggerated and overly harsh.”