Ukraine warns of danger to Chernobyl but IAEA ‘does not see serious safety impact’ – POLITICO

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is decommissioned and its spent fuel facilities have been cut off, increasing the risk of radioactive release, Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom said. alert on Wednesday.

However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) speak that the cooling tanks at the Chernobyl plant were “sufficient to remove heat efficiently without power supply”, adding: “In this case, the IAEA did not see any serious safety impact.”

Approximately 20,000 spent fuel assemblies are stored on site in tanks, which must be cooled continuously.

Damage to two 750 kilovolt power transmission lines, sustained during Russian attacks on the area, resulted in Chernobyl and the nearby city of Slavutych, both in the Kyiv administrative region, losing their connection. whole connection.

“Reservoir diesel generators with a capacity of 48 hours to provide electricity” to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its facilities, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speak on Wednesday, added: “I urge the international community to urgently demand that Russia cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supplies.”

“Fights are ongoing, making repairs and energizing impossible,” Energoatom speak. “As a result, the temperature in the storage tanks will increase … and the release of radioactive substances into the environment will occur. Wind can transfer the radioactive cloud to other parts of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia. and Europe.”

Inspector of nuclear state management of Ukraine speak that routine work, maintenance and repair work at Chernobyl has not been carried out since it was seized by Russian troops last week. It added that the “occupants” did not respect the safety requirements against radiation in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the plant, “which made the radiation situation worse … and contribute to the external spread of radioactive contamination.”

The lack of electricity meant that the ventilation system didn’t work, leaving onsite employees vulnerable to radiation, the company added. “The fire extinguishing system is also not functioning and this is a huge risk in the event of a fire that could be caused by bullets,” the statement read.

Claims and counter-claims in the war zone are difficult to verify.

The Chernobyl warning comes in addition to severe warnings about the “degrading” safety situation at the old power plant and Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s largest operating nuclear plant, which is also believed to be under control. Russian control.

About 210 workers and guards are present at Chernobyl, and while they have food and water, they have not been rotated or allowed to leave since the invasion began two weeks ago, the IAEA speak Tuesday.

In Zaporizhzhia, two of the plant’s six reactors are operational, the operator said on Wednesday, with one reactor undergoing emergency repairs due to “damage during the Russian shelling of the reactor.” block transformer.”

A representative of the Russian National Guard denied that account, tell Interfax that a fire on Friday at the factory was caused by “a group of Ukrainian vandals”.[ing] an armed provocation. ”

On Wednesday morning, Energoatom report that Zaphorizhzhia workers “are under strong psychological pressure” and stress when they have to work under orders of the Russian military. On Tuesday, staff were encouraged to give positive comments to pro-Russian journalists visiting the site, the operator added.

“All of this negatively affects work and endangers nuclear and radiation safety,” said nuclear operator report. “An accident can happen at any time, and its consequences are unpredictable!”

So far, no changes in the radiation status in the Zaphorizhzhia region and neighboring territories have been observed, Energoatom added.

At Chernobyl, the processing of nuclear material has been halted and remote radiation monitoring systems aimed at transmitting safety data have been shut down since Tuesday, the IAEA speak. Ukraine Nuclear Authority more that telephone contact with on-site personnel “has not been restored.”

On Tuesday evening, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, ban Russia’s observer status to protest.

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