By Matthew Roscoe • 10 March 2022 • 16:40
Russia: Putins' troops suffering radiation poisoning at Chernobyl. Credit: Twitter
UKRAINE’S Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for a ceasefire to allow the repair of power lines to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Kuleba said that Russia must immediately withdraw forces from Chernobyl to avert a disaster in Europe.
“Today (March 10), I met with IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi in Antalya to discuss ways of ensuring safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion. I insist: Russia must immediately withdraw forces from Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia NPPs to avert a disaster in Europe.”
Then in a statement from Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator Ukrenergo on Thursday, March 10, Russia was urged to stop shelling the area while they fixed a damaged high-voltage line, which left the Chernobyl station and all nuclear facilities in the Exclusion Zone without electricity on March 9.
“Ukrenergo DOES NOT need the help of the Belarusian side in repairing high-voltage lines damaged by Russian shelling that powered the Chornobyl NPP,” the company said on Facebook.
According to the post, Ukrenergo demands a ceasefire and the safe passage of its repair teams, which have been waiting for permission to leave for repairs since March 9.
“We have everything ready to immediately repair the lines and resume power supply to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant that has been disconnected from power for more than one day. Just stop shelling and give a pass to our repair teams,” Ukrenergo urged.
Ukraine’s Minister of Energy, Herman Galushchenko, noted that Ukraine is doing its best to restore the power supply at Chernobyl.
A statement from Galushchenko reiterated that the power supply is necessary to cool the processed nuclear fuel stored there.
On March 9, Ukraine officials warned that following the loss of power at Chernobyl, the scene of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, the country could be only 48 HOURS away from a serious radiation leak.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said after the nuclear power plant was fully disconnected from the power grid: “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.”
Galushchenko explained that the “general electricity supply to the plant is provided with several power lines”. Shelling from Russian forces meant that the “last 750 kv LAP, which supplied electricity to the nuclear plant, was interrupted. Currently, there are backup power – diesel generators.”
“Nuclear terrorism is not only when you shoot at a nuclear station. It’s when you put the same pressure on staff, whose mistake can cost a lot,” the minister emphasised.
He appealed to the international community to react to the situation: “This is important for the security of not only Ukraine and Europe but also the whole world.
“The Russian military should leave the nuclear stations,” he said.
“We suggest that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) should be deployed at the stations to ensure the safety of those facilities. But the key is to close the sky over Ukraine,” the head of the Ministry of Energy said.
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the loss of cooling systems at Chernobyl would raise the temperature but wouldn’t cause an accident.
“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,” it said on March 9.
“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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