Growing Risk Ukraine Nuclear Plant Could Sputter Radioactive Substances: Operator

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Aug 27, 2022 - 03:00 PM

The Ukrainian operator over Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is Europe's largest, is warning Saturday of the risk of a radioactive leak at the site, which since March has been occupied by some 500 Russian troops.

"As a result of periodic shelling, the infrastructure of the station has been damaged, there are risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances, and the fire hazard is high," Energoatom said on Telegram.

In mid-August the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry staged nuclear fallout readiness drills, AFP via Getty Images.

After Thursday the plant was cut off from the electrical grid for the first time it its history, which was subsequently restored hours later, there's been growing international alarm over the potential for a Chernobyl-style disaster. 

Energoatom further claimed that Russian troops "repeatedly shelled" key infrastructure at the plant - a charge rejected by Moscow. Instead Russia's defense ministry countered that it was the Ukrainian side that  "shelled the territory of the station three times" in the past day, saying "a total of 17 shells were fired."

The agency further warned the plant "operates with the risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards" - in the statement which came midday Saturday (local time).

Ukrainian authorities are calling for international intervention due to the continued instability of the situation. "Due to the presence of the Russian military, their weapons, equipment and explosives at the power plant, there are serious risks for the safe operation of the ZNPP," Energoatom said.

"Ukraine calls on the world community to take immediate measures to force Russia to liberate the ZNPP and transfer the power plant to the control of our country for the sake of the security of the whole world," it added.

Ukraine is further alleging that plant personnel have been tortured by Russian forces, at a moment that an IAEA team is said to be en route to inspect the safety of the nuclear plant. Kiev is saying that a 'cover-up' is being orchestrated by the Russians. As Fox News reports of the Ukraine energy operator's statement

The nuclear agency said Russian forces have "increased the pressure" on Ukrainian staff operating the site "to prevent them from disclosing evidence about the crimes of the occupiers at the plant and its use as a military base."

Even China is now calling for a swift and safe resolution to the standoff at the nuclear plant. China's representatives to the UN agreed for the need of an independent monitoring team to ensure safety, calling for "maximum restraint" among both sides to prevent accidents:

A senior Chinese official told the UN on Friday that just one incident might cause a serious nuclear accident "with irreversible consequences for the ecosystem and public health of Ukraine and its neighboring countries".

Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative at the UN, pointedly called on all parties involved "to exercise maximum restraint strictly abide by international law and minimize the risk of accidents", adding: "We must not allow the tragedies of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents to be repeated."

As for the torture allegations, the Kremlin rejected this narrative as propaganda, and it remains that days ago Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the greenlight to invite in an IAEA team, after European leaders have demanded accurate data on the status and functioning of Zaporizhzhia in terms of its day-to-day technical data.