Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, said that the world narrowly escaped a radiation accident on Thursday when the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was cut off from the Ukrainian power grid. Zelensky added that the disaster escaped only due to backup electricity. The president blamed the Russian military for the Thursday shelling that ignited fires in the pits of a neighboring coal power station that cut off the reactor complex from the electricity grid.
Zelensky stated that Europe faced the chance of a radiation accident when Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid. He added that the disaster was only avoided because of the backup electricity that the facility was able to operate safely. pic.twitter.com/DHEFWem4E0
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Zelensky added that backup generators ensured electricity supply and kept the nuclear facility safe. During an evening address, he said that if the Zaporizhzhia plant’s staff hadn’t reacted immediately after the blackout, it would be difficult for them to overcome the consequences. There is mounting concern over fighting near the nuclear facility, the largest European atomic plant. Kyiv officials stated that two operating power units of the plant were disconnected from the network.
Wednesday, satellite images revealed a widespread fire burning in the instant surrounding area of the nuclear complex. Zelensky blamed the damage on Russian forces shelling and, in his nightly speech, accusing them of putting Europe and Ukraine one step away from the accident. On the other hand, Yevgeny Balitsky, the local Russian-appointed governor, accused the Ukrainian military of air strikes, blaming them for causing power outages in the area.
IAEA Statement about Zaporizhzhia Plant
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that the nuclear plant remained connected to a 330000 V line from the neighboring thermal power plant that can deliver backup electricity if required, quoting the state nuclear agency of Ukraine. Further, it added that all six atomic units stayed disconnected from the power grid.
Since early March, the Russian military captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility, but Ukrainian nuclear technicians are still operating it. Last week, the Kremlin allowed the international inspection team to visit the facility. It comes amid claims from Ukrainian officials that Russia could be trying to deliberately divert power from the seizure nuclear facility to reconnect it to Moscow’s own power grid.