Russia-Ukraine news: Radioactive substances could be released from Chernobyl after power off

Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant after its power connection was severed, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom has said.


Article from the Telegraph by Marcus Parekhand Grace Millimaci - 09.03.22


Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant after its power connection was severed, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom has said.


Work to repair the connection and restore power to the plant, which has been occupied by Russian troops, has not been possible because fighting is under way, it said.


Ukraine has claimed that the power cut could affect the cooling system, though this remains unclear.


Elsewhere this morning, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said the purpose of Russia's "military operation" in Ukraine is not to overthrow the central government.


The army's aim is "not to occupy Ukraine, or the destruction of its statehood, or the overthrow of the government. It is not directed against the civilian population," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.


The statement is the latest step in an apparent climbdown from the Kremlin, who waged war two weeks ago with the explicit aims of "de-Nazifying" Ukraine by "decapitating" the government in Kyiv.


Emergency generators at Chernobyl only have '48 hours of power'

Russian forces have damaged the 750 kV Chernobyl-Kyiv high-voltage line and cut off electricity to the Chernobyl nuclear power site, reports Joe Pinkstone.

Ukrainian authorities say this could lead to the release of radioactive substances in the air, and the repercussions could be vast. The Ukrainian energy minister said the plant has about 48 hours of diesel to power emergency generators at the site.


Professor Claire Corkhill, Chair in Nuclear Material Degradation at the University of Sheffield, told The Telegraph: “It is pretty concerning.”


She said that cutting off power to the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster may see monitoring of the still-active reactor fuel become impossible, leaving engineers blind to any spontaneous increases in nuclear activity.


The $2billion Chernobyl New Safe Confinement unit which contains the site also has a cutting-edge air conditioning unit which extracts heat from the core and prevents condensation from forming and dampening the fuel.


Water, Prof Corkhill says, increases activity if it dampens fuel and this could lead to higher activity levels, a chain ration, the reactor going critical, and an explosion.


“If they have switched off the electricity, I honestly am really uncertain about what will happen to that building.” he said.


Energoatom, the organisation which runs Chernobyl and the country's active nuclear generators, said today that a lack of power will also affect the cooling of spent nuclear fuel and fire extinguishing systems as well as ventilation.


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/09/russia-ukraine-news-war-putin-zelensky-oil-sanctions-latest/


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Chernobyl nuclear power plant CREDIT REUTERS

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