By Matthew Roscoe • 09 March 2022 • 14:37
UPDATE: Ukraine warns Chernobyl could be 48 HOURS away from radiation leak. Credit: Twitter
UKRAINE officials have warned that following a loss of power at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the scene of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, the country could be only 48 HOURS away from a serious radiation leak.
Speaking after Chernobyl was fully disconnected from the power grid, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP.
“After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent.”
According to Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator Ukrenergo on Wednesday, March 9, due to a high-voltage line in Kyiv being disconnected due to the damage caused by Russian forces, the Chernobyl station and all nuclear facilities in the Exclusion Zone are without electricity.
A statement from the operator said: “Because of fighting and military actions of Russian troops, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl has been fully disconnected from the power grid.
“Fighting actions are ongoing, which is currently making it impossible to repair and restore energy. The city of Slavutich is also disrupted.”
This loss of power could potentially be preventing the constant cooling of spent nuclear fuel, which is required to stop the temperature in the holding pools from increasing.
Energoatom said there were about 20,000 spent fuel assemblies at Chernobyl that could not be kept cool amid a power outage.
Their warming could lead to “the release of radioactive substances into the environment. The radioactive cloud could be carried by wind to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Europe,’ it said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
However, according to a 2011 stress test, the loss of cooling systems at Chernobyl would raise the temperature but wouldn’t cause an accident.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reiterated this in the following statement: “Ukraine has informed IAEA of power loss at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Rafael Mariano Grossi says development violates key safety pillar on ensuring uninterrupted power supply; in this case, IAEA sees no critical impact on safety.
“IAEA says heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant sufficient for effective heat removal without need for electrical supply.”
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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