At Zaporizhzhia, Zelenskyy accused Russia of practicing “radiation blackmail.”
Zelenskyy of the Ukraine informs Rafael Grossi of the IAEA that safety at Europe’s largest nuclear complex was not guaranteed while Russian forces were in charge of the area.
As part of what he called Moscow’s “radiation blackmail,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy informed the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station could not be guaranteed while the facility was under Russian control.
Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the IAEA, and Zelenksyy met on Monday in Zaporizhzhia, a city in Ukrainian-controlled territory situated approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the same-named nuclear reactor.
According to comments on Zelenskyy’s official website, Zelenskyy told Grossi that the workers at the Zaporizhzhia factory were always under pressure from the Russian occupying forces, who he claimed were disregarding safety regulations and interfering with technological procedures.
All efforts to restore nuclear safety and security will fail without an urgent Russian troop and personnel departure from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and surrounding areas, according to Zelenskyy.
Later in his weekly video message, Zelenskyy declared, “Keeping a nuclear power station hostage for more than a year – this is unquestionably the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of European or worldwide nuclear power.”
Early in the conflict, Moscow’s forces seized the Zaporizhzhia plant, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. Today, Russian and Ukrainian forces frequently accuse one another of endangering a catastrophic nuclear disaster by attacking the plant. Fears of a nuclear disaster have increased due to ongoing fighting near the facility and worries that its cooling systems could go out of power.
Six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station are currently in shutdown mode, and the plant is only only getting power from one surviving power line in order to prevent a reactor meltdown. Since shelling has knocked out power to the main grid, the plant has forced to convert to emergency diesel generators to operate its critical cooling systems. Fighting earlier this month caused a half-day interruption in the plant’s power supply, prompting employees to turn on backup generators.
Grossi had expressed concern at that turn of events.
At the time of the most recent power cut, he informed his agency, “Each time we are rolling the dice. And if we keep allowing this to happen, eventually our good fortune will run out.
According to Russian officials, they aim to link the Zaporizhzhia plant to their electrical system. In a tweet sent earlier on Monday, Grossi said he and Zelenskyy had a “rich exchange” on the protection of the plant and its personnel. Grossi, who will return this week, has advocated for a safety zone to be established around the Zaporizhzhia plant on numerous occasions. Since his last visit there in September, the agency has had personnel there on a permanent basis.
All four of Ukraine’s nuclear power reactors, including the now-closed Chernobyl facility, whose horrific nuclear disaster in 1986 spilled fallout over much of Europe, would have teams of specialists stationed there, the IAEA announced in January. This is done to lower the chance of mishaps.
On Monday, Zelenskyy also informed Grossi of the difficulties brought on by Russian strikes on the Dnipro hydropower project. According to a senior industry official, Ukraine is aiming to provide hydropower facilities with “maximum safety” by burying equipment underground while it makes repairs to the estimated $1 billion worth of damage caused by Russian strikes on the nation’s power infrastructure.
Ihor Syrota, the chief of the Dnieper and Dniester river hydropower facilities’ electrical equipment and machine rooms, claimed on Monday that four of Ukraine’s nine hydropower plants had been damaged by Russian assaults.
He claimed that although the nine hydroelectric plants had a total capacity of 6,300 megawatts (MW) and typically produced around 10% of Ukraine’s energy, about 2,000 MW of that capacity had been lost due to structural damage. Engineers have already restored 500 MW of capacity and intend to do the same with stronger protection for the remaining capacity as quickly as feasible, he said.
In an interview with the news organization Reuters, Syrota stated, “We will conceal electrical equipment at existing stations.”
“Anything that was originally planned to be on the surface will have a different structure, we will hide it [underground],” he stated. “If we have a new project, we are of course reviewing it.