How big is the danger at the Zaporizhzhia plant?
Since the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine has been precarious. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s reportof 21 June states that certain efforts will be necessary to continue to meet the plant’s demands for cooling water. Other problems include ongoing fighting in the area, the power supply and mines. Ukrainian media are divided over how dangerous the situation could become.
No risk of another Fukushima
If there was a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, at least the surrounding area would not become uninhabitable, explains Mikola Gavris, a lecturer at the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, in Dzerkalo Tyzhnya:
“The biggest risk is that the Russians are unlikely to leave the nuclear power plant peacefully if the time comes for them to flee. They would probably try to blow up either the dry storage or the spent fuel pools. In the first scenario the surrounding area would be contaminated, but most of the radioactive material would remain in the storage facility. In the second scenario the interior of the Zaporizhzhia plant would be heavily contaminated. Outside the facilities, however, there would be virtually no radioactive contamination. A large-scale evacuation or even an exclusion zone would not be necessary.”
IAEA playing down threat posed by mines
Olga Kozharna, a former member of the board of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, criticises the fact that the IAEA report on the mines around the nuclear power plant says they don’t affect its main safety functions. In NV she accuses IAEA chief Rafael Grossi of being biased in Russia’s favour:
“Such statements clearly show that Grossi tolerates having nuclear terrorists from Russia at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. The photo showing him in the arms of Renat Karchaa (in Russian state media Karchaa is described as a ‘nuclear expert’ and advisor to Rosatom chief — NV), and his warm words to him at the end of the mission, as well as his statements during the briefing at the nuclear power plant, are documentary evidence that the head of the international organisation is acting in the interests of the occupiers.”