Ukraine Demands Cease-Fire At Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Amid Power Outage After Russian Takeover

The Ukraine government has called on Russia to ceasefire amid news that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has lost its power supply.
A satellite image with overlaid graphics shows military vehicles alongside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on February 25
According to the country’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom, radioactive substances could be released from the site as it is unable to cool spent nuclear fuel due to the power cut.

Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, took to Twitter today (9 March) to request a ceasefire while reparations take place.
The Chernobyl sarcophagus. Credit: Alamy
“The only electrical grid supplying the Chornobyl NPP and all its nuclear facilities occupied by Russian army is damaged,” he wrote.

“CNPP lost all electric supply. I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supply.

“Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP. After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent.

“Putin’s barbaric war puts entire Europe in danger. He must stop it immediately!”

Kuleba’s messages arrive as Energoatom said in a statement there were approximately 20,000 spent fuel assemblies at Chernobyl that couldn’t be cooled down.

The company said this could lead to ‘radioactive substances’ being ‘released into the environment’, with the statement adding, via Reuters: “The radioactive cloud could be carried by wind to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Europe.”
Ventilation systems would also be compromised by the power cut, which could lead to staff being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

In a recent Facebook post, Energoatom explained that on-site emergency diesel generators are being used to provide the power needed for safety, but that the fuel supply is enough to last just 48 hours.

The post continued: “Disruption of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant enables the control of nuclear and radiation security parameters at the facilities of the enterprise.

“According to the information of the NEK ‘Ukrenergo’, combat operations in the region are impossible for repair work to restore the energy supply of the company.”

On the first day that President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border on 24 February, Russian forces seized control of Chernobyl.
Russian troops took over Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Credit: Alamy
Hostages were taken at the nuclear plant – which is located 60 miles north of Kyiv – who are reported as having been forced to continue work while only on one meal a day and two hours of sleep.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAE) has since voiced its concern for the reported 210 members of staff held within the plant after realising 'remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chernobyl NPP had been lost'.

As of today (8 March), Chernobyl's workers have been stuck inside the plant for 13 days.

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