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risk of imminent nuclear catastrophe!

The Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned that the Russian army had possibly mined the site, after the first months of the Russian occupation of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in the first half of 2022. In early June, a dam wall on the reservoir adjacent to Kakhovka was breached, possibly by the Russian army. Kiev also commented that the occupants had extracted the plant’s cooling pond. At this time, the Ukrainian military leadership warned that Russian soldiers also embedded objects similar to explosive devices two blocks from the nuclear power plant.

On the other hand, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that during the analyzed period it had not found signs of mines or other explosives at the nuclear power plant. The director general of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, said that the agency’s specialists needed to have access to other areas of the nuclear power plant, in order to carry out a more complete investigation, thus ruling out any possibility that explosive devices were trapped there.

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A Russian soldier guards access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (Reproduction: Alexander Ermochenko/ Reuters)


Cooling system as a weak point

Olha Kozharna, a nuclear safety expert from Ukraine, says that laying mines in important areas of cooling could pose a direct threat to the plant. The water in the cooling tank plays an important role in this. It is used to cool the fuel elements in reactors so that they do not melt due to overheating.

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Since October last year, the six units of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant have not been in operation. Five of them are in a cold shutdown. An expert from the Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Ukraine, Dmytro Humenyuk, says that the reactors still need to be cooled down because the fuel components he finds in the reactors continue to release some kind of heat, however the water cannot evaporate anymore. One hypothesis is if the cooling system is destroyed and the water evacuated, according to experts, after eight days an accident could occur.

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However, according to experts, the sixth reactor is still in hot shutdown, although the IAEA has already requested a cold shutdown of around four weeks. Its cooling water can reach temperatures of up to 280 degrees and would quickly evaporate in case of a possible leak. Therefore, according to experts, there would be only 27 hours left to prevent the radiation from escaping.

Feature Photo: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine. (Reproduction: Alexander Ermochenko/ Reuters)

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risk of imminent nuclear catastrophe!

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