Should we be worried about Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant?
My answer is YES, very worried.
In fact, since the U.S. is such a vital part of the whole exceedingly complicated nuclear story, both weapons and power, we should feel worried and painfully guilty about the sheer delicacy of the dangers of use — both accidental or intentional.
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) collects information from reliable sources to keep up with the state of nuclear safety and radiological protection in Ukraine. But because the people there are facing a harsh situation in the country, gathering the information can be challenging, the agency writes on its website.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has six reactors, and according to NEA, as of July 22, two reactors were operating. The plant was attacked on March 4, 2022, by Russia and a resulting fire was extinguished, leaving no impact on essential equipment.
The plant management is now under Russian control.
From the NEA’s “Ukraine: Current status of nuclear power installations,” published Aug. 1:
“Subsequent reports have highlighted that two of the four high-voltage offsite power lines to the site were damaged. Another high voltage line is on standby. The operator informed the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) that the plant’s off-site power needs could be provided with one power line and that diesel generators were also ready and functional to provide back-up power if required.
“Ukraine’s nuclear operator, Energoatom, reports that its staff continue to operate the facility, but under extremely stressful conditions. Additionally, the nuclear safety regulator SNRIU (State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine) has indicated that it is no longer in a position to oversee nuclear safety at the site. The NEA continues to monitor the situation.
“Recent reports to the IAEA have underlined that staff are operating the facility under extremely stressful conditions, which continue to deteriorate still further according to recent reports in the press and elsewhere. The NEA is closely monitoring the situation. ”
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It was built by the Soviet Union near the city of Enerhodar, with construction beginning in 1980 and completed in 1986.
It’s Europe’s largest atomic energy plant and it is under Russia’s control. Not only should we feel worried and guilty, but also heartbroken.