Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant disconnected from power grid for second day after nearby fires

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“The station’s own power supply is currently being supplied via a repaired line of Ukraine’s energy system,” Energoatom said in a statement Friday.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said backup diesel generators were “immediately activated” at the plant to prevent a “radiation disaster”.

“The world needs to understand what a threat this is: if the diesel generators hadn’t been turned on, if the automation and our factory staff hadn’t responded after the blackout, we would already be forced to overcome the effects of the radiation. accident,” Zelensky said during his late-night speech.

The generators are installed to supply power to cooling pumps to prevent the fuel from overheating in the event of a power failure.

“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation that is one step away from a radiation disaster,” Zelensky said, adding that officials from the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, must urgently gain access to the site.

In a statement on Thursday, Energoatom said fires at a nearby thermal power plant caused the nuclear power plant’s last remaining power line to be disconnected twice. The plant’s three other lines had been “lost earlier in the conflict,” it added.

Energoatom blamed Russia for the disconnection. “The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the ZNPP (Zaporizya Nuclear Power Plant) from the power grid – the first in the plant’s history.”

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Thursday that the continued presence of Russian troops in and near the plant is “a constant trigger for a possible nuclear disaster”.

“Today’s events are another vivid confirmation of that,” he said, adding: “Who is ready to take responsibility for tomorrow’s security?”

Halushchenko appealed to the international community to ensure nuclear safety, saying that “urgent dismantling and demilitarization of the ZNPP is the only way for Europe to sleep peacefully and not fear nuclear clouds in the sky.”

The nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been under Russian control since March. Clashes around the complex have sparked widespread concern and fear of disaster.

Ukraine has accused Russian troops of using the factory as a shield, threatening a possible disaster at the factory. The Kremlin, in turn, has repeatedly accused Ukrainian troops of shelling the factory.

The Russian-installed regional governor blamed Ukraine’s military action for the power outages, adding that “work was underway to restore power to the region and launch the second power unit.”

The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant generates about 20% of Ukraine’s electricity and a prolonged power outage would pose a huge challenge to Ukraine as the colder weather approaches.

Negotiations are underway for the IAEA to visit the plant. “Almost every day there is a new incident at or near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. We cannot afford to lose any more time. I am determined to personally lead an IAEA mission to the plant in the coming days to help stabilize nuclear safety and security there,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in the statement.

He has previously charged France 24 that they were “very, very close” to an agreement with Russia.

A ‘dangerous situation’

But Thursday’s disconnection has raised concerns that Moscow is trying to divert electricity produced in Zaporizhzhya to Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

This view was expressed on Monday by Kotin, CEO of Energoatom, who accused Russia of trying to disconnect the factory from the Ukrainian grid “and then try to reconnect it to the Russian system,” in an interview with CNN. .

He said the only way to do that would be a complete shutdown of the factory “and a complete shutdown of all lines connected to the Ukrainian system. Because the frequencies are different at the moment, the Russian frequency and the Ukrainian frequency – we are synchronized with the European system, and they are synchronized with Russia.”

But he warned that once the fourth line was damaged, “we will have more power cuts throughout the plant,” he said, describing it as a “dangerous situation” as the plant would rely solely on diesel generators, which are unreliable.” because they need fuel for their work, and also … they have a limited capacity to be constantly in work mode.”

Ukrainian Premier League match interrupted by airstrikes sirens four times and lasts more than four hours
Nuclear power plants use a number of additional safety systems, such as diesel generators and external grid connections, to keep reactors cool. If those systems failed, the nuclear reactor would quickly heat up, causing a meltdown.

Citing Ukraine, the IAEA said on Thursday that the plant “remained connected to a 330 kV line from the nearby thermal power plant that can provide backup electricity if needed”.

US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said on Thursday that “any attempt to disconnect the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian power grid and divert it to occupied territories is unacceptable”.

“It is clear that Russia’s shelling and seizure of Ukraine’s power plants and infrastructure is part of its strategy to create energy crises in Europe. We strongly condemn any action at ZNPP or elsewhere that affects the health and well-being of citizens in the entire region,” said Patel. said during a briefing with reporters.

Top US State Department official Bonnie Jenkins also warned on Thursday that Russia’s actions at the plant have “posed a serious risk of a nuclear incident, a dangerous radiation that could threaten not only Ukraine’s population and environment, but neighboring countries and the entire international community.”

Jenkins, secretary of state for arms control and international security, called on Russia to cease its military activities around the plant and stressed the importance of an IAEA visit.

CNN’s Sam Kiley, Bex Wright, Amy Cassidy and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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