October 4, 2022

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The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is again on the brink of disaster

The series of events surrounding the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia bears a disturbing resemblance to the history of the predicted disaster. The safety situation around six reactors deteriorated sharply on Thursday, August 25, when a fire caused the site in southern Ukraine to automatically shut down communication between the Dnieper and the electricity network for several hours. Unprecedented for Europe’s largest power plant since entering service in 1985.

Three 750-kilowatt (kW) high-voltage overhead lines heading north — controlled by the government of Ukraine — were damaged by the fire. The 330 kW security line to the south – the area occupied by Moscow troops – was not cut off, but its power was insufficient to ensure the safe operation of the infrastructure.

For cooling, six pressurized water reactors require the operation of several pumps. Since the plant was attacked by the Russian army on March 4, only two reactors produce power continuously. On Thursday, emergency diesel generators helped prevent overheating and connectivity was restored by evening. No radioactive leak has been detected in the area so far.

read more: War in Ukraine: “We can imagine scenarios in Zaporizhia leading to far greater releases than Fukushima”

The cause of the massive fire on the south side of the plant remains controversial. Satellite images released earlier in the day showed the epicenter of the disaster 1.6 km from Reactor No. 6 and just 500 meters from the power substation, which converts electricity produced by turbines into electricity that can be transported to the grid. As in most such incidents, both sides blamed each other for bombing the site.

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Moscow wants to confiscate the energy produced

The day before the incident, the head of Energoatom, the Ukrainian state company that operates the country’s nuclear power plants, Petro Kodin told a British newspaper. Guardian Russian engineers have drawn up a plan to completely cut the site off from the Ukrainian network if the lines are damaged by the fighting. Despite the danger to the furnace cooling system. EnergoAtom immediately got the project because its employees still operate the plant under the supervision of Russian soldiers and engineers. Petro Kodin’s prediction that the Russian military would target power lines to Ukraine came true the next day.

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