Zelensky: Ukraine Nuclear Plant “Narrowly escapes Disaster”

August 26, 2022

Reuters:

The world narrowly escaped a radiation disaster when electricity to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was cut off for hours, Ukraine’s president said, urging international bodies to act faster to force Russian troops to vacate the site.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian shelling on Thursday had sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the Zaporozhzhia plant from the power grid. A Russian official said Ukraine was to blame.

Back-up diesel generators ensured power supply vital for cooling and safety systems at the plant, Zelenskiy said, praising the Ukrainian technicians who operate the plant under the gaze of the Russian military.

“If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident,” he said in a video address on Thursday evening.

“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster… Every minute that Russian troops remain at the nuclear power station there is a risk of a global radiation catastrophe,” he said.

Residents in the capital Kyiv, some 556 km (345 miles) to the northwest of the plant, expressed alarm at the situation.

“Of course everyone is afraid, the entire world is afraid. I really want the situation to become peaceful again,” said businessman Volodymyr, 35, who declined to give his last name. “I want the power shortages to be overcome and additional facilities to be operational.”

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