October 5, 2022

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UN: Ukraine faces ‘real risk’ of nuclear disaster | Ukraine and Russia

Moscow and Kiev on Sunday (07/08) again exchanged accusations over fresh explosions at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, under Russian control. Earlier in the day, the UN-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had already pointed to the very real risk of a nuclear disaster in the Southeast. Ukraine.

Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom said three radiation sensors at the plant were damaged by attacks by Russian military personnel on Saturday night, and one employee was taken to hospital with shrapnel injuries. According to the company, the explosion hit a dry storage facility that contained 174 containers of spent nuclear fuel tubes.

“as a consequence [do ataque]”In case of worsening radioactivity or leakage of radiation from containers (…) rapid detection and reaction is currently not possible,” Energoatom said, accusing the Russian military of “acts of nuclear terrorism”.

The Russia, in turn, the Ukrainian military said it attacked the facility using a Urakyan 220 mm multiple rocket launcher. “Administrative buildings and the area adjacent to the storage facility were damaged” and projectiles “fell within a radius of 400 meters of the operating reactor,” said Russian officials who control the city of Enerhodar, where the plant is located. The agency is the state-owned Russian news agency Interfax.

The claims of the two warring parties could not be independently verified.

On Wednesday, IAEA Director General Rafael Croci said the plant, still managed by Ukrainian technicians, was “extremely vulnerable” to a collapse and that all safety measures had been “violated” by forces.

On Saturday, Croci said in a statement: “I am deeply concerned about yesterday’s explosion at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which highlights the real danger of a nuclear disaster.”

A Russian soldier guards the largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, on August 4, 2022. – Photo: Alexander Ermoshenko/ Reuters

Bombing Line

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been the target of repeated bombings in recent days, prompting alarm from the international community and the IAEA. The plant has 6 reactors and has a generating capacity of 5,700 MW – currently, three reactors are in operation.

On Friday, an attack on the plant damaged a high-voltage line and a nitrogen plant and led to the shutdown of one of the reactors — the subject of an exchange of accusations between the blasts. Ukraine And this Russia.

According to Energoatom, Friday’s attacks “posed a serious risk to the safe operation of the facility” and damaged a nitrogen plant and a substation of the nuclear power plant. The site, according to the agency, “operates at the risk of violating radiation and fire safety regulations”. “There is a risk of hydrogen leakage and scattering of radioactive particles, and the risk of fire is very high.” The Ukrainian operator is calling on the Russian military to leave the facility and declare it a demilitarized zone.

According to experts, if the plant loses power from the grid, generators and backup batteries will not be enough to cool the reactors and radioactive fuel reservoirs. Added to these concerns are suspicions that Russian forces are using Zaporizhia as a weapons depot and cover for launching attacks.

On March 4, at the beginning of the Russian occupation, a fire broke out at the plant after a Russian bombardment, which was brought under control after two and a half hours and caused panic over the possibility of a nuclear disaster.

Satellite image of the Saporigia area — Photo: Reproduction/Google