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Modern nuclear threat in the center of Europe. Ukrainian captured nuclear power plants.

The head of "Energoatom" on the situation at the captured nuclear power plants.

What’s happening at the nuclear power plants seized by Russian terrorists, in what physical condition the personnel, and what threatens the country with the de-energization of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant? The head of Energoatom Petr Kotin answers.

Thousands of people are dying in Ukraine, civilian infrastructure and the homes of Ukrainians are being destroyed as a result of Putin’s insane plans. Russia is also resorting to barbaric nuclear terrorism, endangering the whole of Europe.

The occupation forces control the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plants. Power plant personnel continue to work at the facilities, actually at gunpoint.

Shortly before, it became known that because of the actions of the Russian invaders, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the city of Slavutych were left without electricity.

This could lead to a breakdown of the spent nuclear fuel storage cooling system, which could lead to leakage. Fighting continues, making it impossible to repair and restore the power supply.

The Chernobyl nuclear material monitoring system has already stopped transmitting data to the IAEA.

The situation is also tense at the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

- What can the de-energization of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant lead to?

- Why do we need electricity at nuclear facilities? When we first loaded fresh fuel and started a nuclear reaction, it needs to be cooled.

Failure to do so risks the heat accumulated there will melt the whole construction, go outside and get into the environment. Thus, radiation can enter human bodies and irradiate them.

At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, there are over 20,000 spent fuel assemblies. This is all the fuel shipped from the power units of the Chernobyl Plant after they were stopped. They require constant cooling.

The spent fuel is stored in the pool and is cooled by water pumps. Thereafter, the warm water is cooled in a heat exchanger and fed back into the pool. This process must be continuous. If the pump loses power, the cooling process stops. Fuel cells will start to heat up. The same situation is at Zaporizhzhia NPP. There, the Power Plant is connected by four lines to the power system, and voltage is transmitted through them. Through them, the station itself receives electricity, due to which the reactors are cooled. If these lines are damaged, the station will go into "full blackout" emergency mode when there is no external power supply.

In such a situation, diesel generators are turned on. The probability of a nuclear accident depends on whether you have enough of these generators to restore external power.

Now then: out of four lines for powering the plant at the ZNPP, two have already been damaged by the occupiers. If two more lines are damaged, it will be very close to disaster.

- How much time is there to prevent the worst-case scenario at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant?

- The operation of the storage facility involves force majeure events. Everything depends on the temperature of the environment. It is quite cool now, in such conditions the cooling can operate for about seven days without serious consequences.

After that, the water in the cooling system will gradually ‌warm up, and the temperature will rise. If not cooled at all, it will reach critical values in seven days.

As for now, the diesel generators provide stable cooling. Everything will depend on whether they have the fuel to continue the work and technical resources.

- What needs to be done to return to standard power?

- It is necessary to coordinate with the occupiers on a "green corridor" for the "Ukrenergo" brigade, which can repair and resume the operation of this line.

- You said about radiation exposure. Do you mean radiation evaporation?

- We are not talking about an explosion. An explosion can occur if there is a direct hit by a projectile. If this does not happen, the emissions of radioactive gas into the air and into the water, which cools it all, will constantly increase.

- Why are the occupiers blocking the Chernobyl nuclear power plant? - They do not understand what they are doing! What is Chernobyl or Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant? This is a well-fortified object in peacetime. The station has a fence, security equipment around the perimeter, video surveillance and nuclear materials.

The occupiers use it as a military base. They have entered it and understood that no one would shoot there. At the same time, they can blackmail everyone by blowing up nuclear material and scattering it all over Ukraine.

In addition, these facilities have a very developed infrastructure. For the operation of power units, there is equipment, appliances, dining room for numerous personnel, places for rest. — You have requested the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through the United Nations to deny access to airspace over nuclear facilities. What was the reaction?

- We are constantly in contact with the leaders of these organizations, but the reaction so far is‌ a statement of concern, perhaps, a visit to the facility of specialists of these organizations to monitor security on the ground. No effective steps are taken.

We keep in touch with them, keep them informed, but that’s it for now.

- What is happening at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant? In what condition is the personnel and do they work?

- There is personnel at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant who was captured 14 days ago. People themselves do not want to leave there, because they understand that if they leave their workplaces, then the invaders can bring everything to disaster there. Therefore, they control the process.

Yesterday or the day before, humanitarian aid was brought there, and Russian journalists were invited for propaganda. The staff refused it. They maintain the spirit of patriotism and wait for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to release them. A change of staff has been established at ZNPP. The staff works, but in terrible psychological conditions. There are about 300 masked Russian militaries at the power plant.

Management also works at gunpoint. All questions, even technical ones, must be agreed with the military commander of the Russian Federation. He’s the "Chief Atomist" there right now who says "yes" or "no". This is a very threatening situation, particularly for the psychological well-being of staff. This personnel is on modular control panels, they directly control the reactors. Employees need to be focused on their work, not on people with machine guns nearby.

- What would you like to say to Ukrainians and nuclear power plant personnel?

— The personnel working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Power Plant in Energodar are all patriots of Ukraine. They all expect us to support them. We need to take advantage of the opportunities that you and I have now to offer them words of support.

People can't stand these "orcs". They are waiting and hoping that our army will come and knock out these invaders. And it must be done. When we protect nuclear facilities, we will protect Ukraine's security in the future.

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