Power to Chernobyl Cut off – Is Radiation Leak a Threat?

With the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, critical facilities have been damaged, including the Zaporizhzhia plant last Thursday.

Now, Ukraine is reporting that power to Chernobyl has been cut and raising concerns that this could result in a radiation leak. Per Reuters:

State-run nuclear company Energoatom said a high-voltage power line had been damaged during fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian forces who are occupying the defunct plant, and that it had been cut off from the national power grid. read more

It said “radioactive substances” could eventually be released, threatening other parts of Ukraine and Europe, if there was no power to cool spent nuclear fuel stored at the plant that suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said reserve diesel generators could power the plant for only 48 hours.

After concerns were raised initially about radiation leaks from the Zaporizhzhia plant following the fire in one of the administration buildings there, it was subsequently reported that the plant had been secured, that no reactors had been hit, and that there was no increase in radiation levels.

In response to concerns raised by Ukrainian officials regarding potential leaks as a result of the Chernobyl power outage, the IAEA indicated it “sees no critical impact on safety.”

Per a follow-up tweet, the IAEA asserted that the available volume of cooling water was sufficient for heat removal even without power.

This, despite the fact that, on Tuesday, IAEA announced that “remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP had been lost.”

Per the latest indication from the IAEA, this isn’t presenting a critical safety threat. We’ll continue to monitor and provide any updates as they become available.

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