Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the most dangerous hostage of the war in Ukraine | International
is the headline of the news that the author of WTM News has collected this article. Stay tuned to WTM News to stay up to date with the latest news on this topic. We ask you to follow us on social networks.
The latest threat was launched this Monday by General Valeriy Vasilyev, at the head of the Russian command in Zaporizhia, about 500 kilometers southeast of kyiv: “As you know, we have planted mines in all the important facilities of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. And we do not hide this from the enemy. We warned you. The enemy knows that the plant will be Russian or nobody’s.” This message, published on social networks and subsequently deleted, has been aired, denounced both by the state-owned company Energoatom, the company that operated the nuclear plant until Russia took control in March, and by the Ukrainian government. Several artillery attacks launched since the weekend have damaged facilities around the reactors at the plant, the second largest in Europe. kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other. The risk of radioactive leakage due to the military tension in the area has led the Government of Volodímir Zelenski to request a reconnaissance mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the end of the month. Russia has insisted that it opens the door for the IAEA, under the umbrella of the UN, to visit the plant.
The director general of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, has long demanded a mission from his organization at the plant. If carried out, this would be, together with the unblocking of grain transport, one of the great diplomatic milestones achieved since Russia launched its offensive in the early hours of February 24. Moscow, at the helm of the plant, has defended the arrival of a team from the agency to, they say, show how the Ukrainians “use the weapons of the West.”
kyiv, more reluctant to accept an international mission in seized territory and which asks for the demilitarization of the plant, has now given the green light to Grossi’s request, without this serving to “legitimize” the occupation, according to what the representative defended on Monday. Ukrainian before the IAEA, Yevhenii Tsimbaliuk. He has also urged the UN to send military experts to analyze what type of projectiles were launched.
The Zaporizhia plant —as well as the Chernobyl plant, now under Ukrainian control— was one of the first targets of the Russian army, which finally managed to penetrate and take control of the plant’s operations and employees in the first week of March. The plant, with six reactors with a net capacity of 950 megawatts of electricity – only two of them are in operation – could meet the electricity demand of four million families at maximum capacity. Energoatom has denounced in the last hours that Moscow, which has employees of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned atomic company, intends to cut off the supply to the south of the country, also the objective of its military offensive.
“Suicide”, according to Guterres
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Several attacks launched since Friday against the facilities of the Zaporizhia plant, located next to the Kajovka water reservoir, on the Dnieper River, have raised tension in the area and the risk of a nuclear accident. The reactors are protected by concrete walls and fire-fighting measures, but the use of weapons in a plant violates, as Grossi stated last week, all nuclear safety measures. The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, has branded it in the last hours of “suicide”. According to information provided by the Ukrainian state-owned Energoatom, which operates the other three nuclear plants in the country, the artillery fire has injured two plant employees.
Although the reactors have not been damaged and there has been no radiation leak, the projectiles, according to information from this kyiv-based company, have damaged an external power line, a nitrogen-oxygen station and the detection system of radiation. Impacts have also been recorded next to containers of already used fuel.
Maria Zajarova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, has blamed the Ukrainian troops for the damage to the facilities in Zaporizhia. “By pointing their artillery pieces against the reactors in operation and the stores of used nuclear fuel”, “the Ukrainians point against themselves”, she said in statements collected by the Efe agency. According to a recent analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Moscow is using the plant to increase fear in the West and thus “degrade its willingness to provide military support to a Ukrainian counteroffensive.” The Washington-based ISW, one of the most accurate monitoring centers for the war in Ukraine, said Russian forces have attacked towns further south such as Nikopol from around the plant.
For all this, Grossi, at the head of the IAEA, has stated that five of the seven principles of nuclear safety have been violated in Zaporizhia: the physical integrity of the facilities due to military activity; the operation at all times of the protection systems; the good condition of the employees, who work under enormous stress; the electrical supply, which has suffered damage to an external line, and the monitoring of possible radiation, in danger due to the constant bombing, although it is still operational.
Regarding the employees of the plant, the president of Energoatom, Petro Kotin, has indicated that a hundred of them have been subject to “kidnapping”, while five are unaccounted for. According to Kotin, in the town of Energodar, which adjoins the facilities, 10,000 of the more than 11,000 workers at the nuclear power plant still remain.
Follow all the international information in Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
read without limits