The horrors of the nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

The horrors of the nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

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The fear of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporijjia power plant haunts everyone’s mind. The most powerful power plant in Europe and all six of its reactors have been shut down and under Russian control since March. Since late July, the site has been the target of strikes blamed on each other by Ukrainians and Russians. Kyiv accuses Moscow of storing heavy weapons at the base and using it as a base for attacks on Ukrainian positions. According to the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the staff and our special envoys in Zaporizhia, the situation there is “unacceptable”.

Our Special Envoys in Zaporizhia,

In the city, about fifty km from the power plant, we are preparing for the worst.

We are one centimeter, one millimeter from disaster. The scale of this catastrophe will affect Russia, Europe, and I am not talking about Ukraine. “. The woman issuing this alarm was, until a few days ago, an engineer at the Zaporizhia power station, responsible, among other things, for nuclear safety.

She wishes to remain anonymous and her husband, an employee of the mill, was undoubtedly brought back there. ” A lot of people don’t understand what’s really going on there and how scary it is. They shoot at the site of the power plant, there are shells, craters. We are all stretched like a bow, and we are constantly under pressure. We were definitely prepared to face stressful situations, but not at such levels! There are many factors to consider. If these six reactors are not cooled, we are sure to be headed for global doom. no God ! »

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Energoatom is the Ukrainian operator of the power plant Yesterday, Sunday, it was announced that the last reactor in operation would be shut down. The decision was taken after partial restoration of the site’s external power supply.

Six reactors of Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine, 08/19/2022. The last reactor still in operation (to produce the electricity needed to cool the fuel) was shut down on Sunday, September 11, after power was restored. PA

But if the power lines are detonated again, the plant will be completely dependent on emergency diesel generators to provide nuclear safety and security functions.

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Other workers at the plant, as well as refugees in Zaporizhia, may be at risk from radioactive waste stockpiles. ” In nuclear reactors, if the nuclear fuel is preserved, the spent fuel is stored in steel containers 100 millimeters thick, with concrete on top, and that’s it. More than 150 of these containers are out in the open, protected by a 2-meter-high concrete enclosure, and nothing else… »

Zaporijjia, Dmytro Orlov, the exiled mayor of Energodar, former chief engineer of the turbines, before being elected in 2020, opened a center for humanitarian, social and medical assistance, for all those leaving the city, bombing, loss. Running water and electricity. Among them, most are factory workers.

Personnel issues can significantly impact safety, Dmytro Orlov explains. People cannot stay at their posts 24 hours a day. A team needs 5 people to ensure rotation between teams. However, we find ourselves in a situation where there were 4 without 5. Residents must work fewer shifts and therefore take less time off. If there are three more people, they have to go to work every day “.

Ukraine, September 2022: Dmytro Orlov, mayor of Energodar and former chief turbine engineer of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, is in exile before his election in 2020.
Ukraine, September 2022: Dmytro Orlov, mayor of Energodar and former chief turbine engineer of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, is in exile before his election in 2020. © Boris Vichyt / RFI

24 hour surveillance

Authorities in Zaporizhia, about 50 km from the plant, are monitoring the situation very closely. A The mobile laboratory measures radiation levels 24 hours a day. ” After being analyzed by sensors that measure the radiation rate, we see the numbers fall in real time on the screen. Currently, as seen on the screen, they are normal “.

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If the statistics are anything to go by, local authorities are on their guard. ” All services in the Zaporizhia region are on standby, both the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the regional military administration, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the past four weeks. Taras Tyshchenko, representative of the Ministry of Health of Zaporizhia explains. In the case of a more serious situation, she creates answers to all the hypotheses we present to her “.

Ukraine, September 2022: Taras Tyshchenko, representative of the Ministry of Health in Zaporizhia
Ukraine, September 2022: Taras Tyshchenko, representative of the Ministry of Health in Zaporizhia © Boris Vichyt / RFI

To prevent such a situation from occurring, Ukraine, like the IAEA, is reiterating its demand for a demilitarized zone around the plant. A request has so far remained a dead letter.

Zaporizhia, Ukraine, September 2, 2022: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives visit the site of the power plant.
Zaporizhia, Ukraine, September 2, 2022: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives visit the site of the power plant. “The physical integrity of the Zaporizhia power plant has been violated on several occasions,” agency head Rafael Grossi said after the visit. PA

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About the Author: Seth Sale

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