The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog, has started providing on-site support to four more nuclear power plants in Ukraine in response to a request from the country, said director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi, in a video statement on Thursday (24).
The four additional plants are Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, Southern Ukraine and Chornobyl. Since September, IAEA specialists have provided local support to Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces.
Following Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure, Ukraine’s operational Zaporizhzhia, Rivne, Southern Ukraine and Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plants were disconnected from the grid and “forced to rely on emergency diesel generators for the electricity they needed to ensure their ongoing safety and security,” said Grossi.
“This unprecedented situation would have been unimaginable just a few months ago. It is deeply troubling,” he said.
“We must do everything to prevent a nuclear accident at any of these nuclear facilities, which would only add to the terrible suffering we are already witnessing in Ukraine. The time to act is now.”
For the first time, Ukraine’s four operational nuclear power plants were closed simultaneously in 40 years on Wednesday, the head of state of nuclear power company Energoatom said in a statement.
Petro Kotin said it was a precautionary measure and that he hoped they would be reconnected on Thursday night (24). The three fully functioning plants in Ukrainian hands would help supply electricity to the national grid, he said.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear power, according to the World Nuclear Association. It has 15 reactors at four plants that, before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, generated about half of its electricity.
Russia has turned its attention to the destruction of Ukraine’s power infrastructure ahead of the harsh northern winter, and successive waves of attacks that have left much of the country facing ongoing blackouts.
Source: CNN Brasil