Zaporizhzhya NPP at risk of violating radiation, fire safety standards, says Energoatom

21 August, 09:19 PM
Zaporizhzhya NPP (Photo:ZNPP)

Zaporizhzhya NPP (Photo:ZNPP)

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) is at risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards due to Russian shelling, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom reported on Telegram messenger on Aug 21.

“As of 8.00 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2022, the Zaporizhzhya NPP is operating with the risk of violating radiation and fire safety regulations,” the report says.

“Periodic shelling of ZNPP by Russian troops with the use of multiple launch rocket systems poses a serious risk to the safe operation of the plant.”

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In particular, one of the transitional galleries through which personnel go from the special buildings to the power units (overpass) was damaged as a result of shelling on Aug. 20. The windows in the building were broken.

On Aug. 13, a 750 kV open switchgear (VRP-750) was damaged as a result of Russian shelling.

On Aug. 11, the invaders shelled the fire department, which is located outside the territory of the ZNPP and designed to protect it from fires and extinguish them in case of emergencies at the plant.

On Aug. 6, three radiation monitoring sensors around the nuclear waste site of ZNPP were damaged as a result of Russian shelling.

On Aug. 5, the emergency protection triggered on one of the power units after a Russian attack on the ZNPP. As a result, one of the three power units that were in operation was shut down. 

The nitrogen-oxygen station and the combined auxiliary building were seriously damaged during the shelling. There are still risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances, as well as the fire hazard is high.

Despite this, the Ukrainian staff of the power plant continue to work and make every effort to maintain nuclear and radiation safety, as well as eliminating the consequences of damage, Energoatom said.

The Zaporizhzhya NPP continues to operate and produce electricity for the needs of the domestic power system.

However, the nuclear power plant is still occupied and controlled by the Russian military. Given that the actions of invaders cannot be predicted, the threat to the power plant’s physical security remains, Ukrainian authorities say.

The Zaporizhzhya NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are being held captive by the occupying troops.

The Kremlin uses the facility as cover for its forces, as Ukraine can’t return fire due to the risk of causing a nuclear disaster.

Recently-emerged footage showed numerous Russian military vehicles parked inside the main turbine hall of the facility, some 150 meters away from the nearest reactor.

Energoatom warned on Aug. 19 that Russia is planning to disconnect the facility from Ukraine’s power grid, which would put the reactor cooling system offline.

Kyiv is in talks with the IAEA about mounting a monitoring mission to stabilize the situation at the ZNPP, potentially headed by Rafael Grossi, the agency’s chair. The UN said it would also participate.

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