What's happening at Chernobyl nuclear plant post Russian takeover?

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 What's happening at Chernobyl nuclear plant post Russian takeover?
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Highlights

  • Power supply to Chernobyl nuclear plant was cut off due to an interruption in an electricity line post Russian attack.
  • The outage puts at risk some 20 tons of nuclear waste which needs to be constantly cooled to keep radiation in check.
  • Due to ongoing military actions, restoring the electricity lines has become difficult.

On 9 March, Ukrenergo, Ukraine's national energy company, said that the power to the Chernobyl nuclear plant was cut off due to an interruption in an electricity line linking the nuclear plant with the electricity supplier in Kyiv.

The outage puts at risk some 20 tons of nuclear waste which needs to be constantly cooled to keep radiation in check, and potentially threatens Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Europe.

A statement released by Ukrenergo on its social media handle stated that because of military activities of Russian occupiers, the nuclear power plant in Chornobyl was entirely disconnected from the power grid, claiming that the nuclear station had no power supply.

Military actions are in progress, so there is no possibility to restore the lines. Slavu-tich city is also out of power supply. At the same time, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, has appealed to Russia to agree to a truce to get decommissioned Chernobyl power plant repaired, after it was totally disconnected from the electrical grid, raising the possibility of radiation leaks.

Kuleba on Twitter said that the whole power supply line of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and all its nuclear facilities controlled by the Russian army had been destroyed. Chernobyl is de-energised. He also appealed to the entire international community to immediately call on Russia to a truce and allow repair crews to restore the electricity supply as soon as possible.

He further added that spare diesel generators would power the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its facilities for 48 hours. After that, the cooling system of the spent nuclear fuel storage will be shut down, threatening the leakage of radiation.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement that Ukraine had notified it about the urgent need to rotate the nuclear plant's employees. Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, the IAEA, said that Ukraine had said today that it was becoming increasingly urgent and important for the safe management of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to rotate some 210 technical personnel and guards who had been working there since Russian forces took control of the site almost two weeks ago.

Grossi also said that he was deeply concerned about the difficult and stressful situation the staff was facing at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant and potential risks the leakage entails for nuclear safety. He also calls on forces to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there.

The Atomic Energy regulating body stated that in contrast to the current situation for staff at Ukraine's operating nuclear power plants which were regularly rotating, the same shift had been on duty at the Chornobyl NPP since the day before the Russian military entered the site on 24 February, effectively living there for the past 13 days.

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