Chornobyl NPP is left without power, raising risks of nuclear waste leak

9 March, 03:31 PM
The territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been in the hands of Putin's occupiers since February 24 (Photo:Gleb Garanich / Reuters)

The territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been in the hands of Putin's occupiers since February 24 (Photo:Gleb Garanich / Reuters)

The infamous Chornobyl nuclear power plant has been left without power because of the activities of invading Russian troops, Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo said in a Facebook post on March 9. 

Ongoing hostilities are preventing emergency services from making critical repairs, Ukrenergo said.

“Because of the military actions of the Russian invaders, the nuclear power plant in Chornobyl has been fully disconnected from the power grid; the nuclear station has no power supply” the message reads.

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“Military actions are in progress, so there is no chance to restore the lines.”

According to Energoatom, the state-owned enterprise that operates Ukraine nuclear power plants, Chornobyl and the city of Slavutych remain without power after the Chornobyl–Kyiv power line was damaged.

Over 20,000 nuclear waste containers are stored at the site; they need constant cooling, which, in turn, requires a power supply, Energoatom said. If power is not restored, radioactive material could  ontaminate the environment.

“As a result, the rising temperature at the cooling pools will lead to evaporation and contamination of the environment with radioactive material,” the message on Telegram instant messenger said.

“Winds could scatter a radioactive cloud across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Europe.”

Energoatom also pointed out that air filtration at the NPP requires power as well, and without it, people at the site will be exposed to hazardous levels of radiation.

“The fire suppression system is also not working,” the company added.

“This introduces a huge risk of a fire, which could break out due to shelling.”

Russian invading forces captured Chornobyl NPP during the first days of the war, as they were advancing from Belarus to Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged the world to pressure Moscow to halt fighting at the site.

“The only electrical grid supplying the Chornobyl NPP and all its nuclear facilities, which are occupied by the Russian army, is damaged; CNPP has lost all electric supplies,” the minister said on Twitter.

“I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease-fire and allow repair units to restore the power supply.”

Earlier, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that it lost telemetry from various sensors and detectors around Chornobyl NPP that monitor radiation levels at the site.

“At the moment, nobody understands what’s going on in Chornobyl and what hazard the area is facing,” IAEA said.

“The situation is very dangerous.”

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