Ukraine Raises Nuclear Disaster Concerns As Russia Evacuates Power Plant Staff

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has expressed concern for the safety of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, describing the situation as “increasingly unpredictable” after Moscow ordered the evacuation of residents from Russian-occupied areas close to the facility.

According to Yevgeniy Balitskiy, the interim administrator of the Zaporizhzhia region, more than 1,600 individuals, including 660 children, have been evacuated from Russian-occupied villages along the front lines in Zaporizhzhia.

The biggest nuclear power station in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility, is held by Russian forces but primarily operated by Ukrainian laborers.

The occupants of 18 communities, including Enerhodar, were evacuated over the weekend. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement that the majority of the plant’s employees reside in the municipality.

Grossi expressed grave concern over the “increasingly agitated, stressful, and challenging conditions” for personnel and their families, as well as “the very real nuclear safety and security hazards the plant faces.”

Grossi cautioned, “We must act promptly to prevent the possibility of a calamitous nuclear accident and its consequential effects on the population and environment.”The town was evacuated amid rumors of an impending Ukrainian counteroffensive, with the southern region likely to be a key target as Kyiv attempts to repel the Russian invasion.

Ukraine Struggles To Keep Nuclear Plant Operating

Yuri Chernichuk, the site director, stated that operating staff are not being evacuated and that “everything possible is being done to assure nuclear safety and security at the facility.”
According to Grossi, Chernichuk stated that the plant’s six reactors are in offline mode and its equipment is being maintained “by all applicable nuclear safety and security regulations.”

The plant’s location on the front lines, on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, means that shelling is prevalent in the adjacent towns and close to the facility, according to local reports.

Frequent disconnection from Ukraine’s power infrastructure as a result of intense Russian shelling has repeatedly raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe across Europe.

The facility is also significant due to Ukraine’s heavy reliance on nuclear energy. Ukraine would lose 20% of its indigenous electricity-generating capacity if Russia retained it. According to analysts, Russia would want to secure the facility undamaged to supply its domestic electricity market.

Experts at the site continue to hear regular bombardment, including late Friday night, according to the IAEA.

Source: CNN

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