Russia-Ukraine war. Both countries do not agree to stop the war. Ukraine has claimed that Russia may attack Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). Russia has denied Ukraine’s allegations.
ZNPP is largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Any attack on it could threaten a major nuclear disaster. In meantime, we need to know what Ukraine’s claim is about Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. How did Russia respond to the allegations? Where is the Zaporizhzhya plant? What will happen if there is an explosion in the plant? Can Zaporizhia become a second Chornobyl? What effect can this have on Russia-Ukraine war?
What is Ukraine’s claim about the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant?
The Russia-Ukraine conflict, Ukraine has been grappling with nuclear threat for a long time. Zelensky has now claimed that Russia can carry out a nuclear event not by firing weapons, but by weaponizing the ZNPP itself. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement, ‘Russian soldiers placed explosive-like objects on roofs of ZNPP.’ Zelensky said that the whole world must now realize that the safety of people depends entirely on the actions of those occupying the plant.
Russia has also reacted to these accusations against Ukraine. Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the situation at the plant is very tense. Ukraine has tried to deflect criticism by making this claim. He also said that there is a high suspicion of sabotage by the Kyiv government on the plant. This can have disastrous consequences.
Analysts in Europe believe that Russia could claim that any explosion at the power plant was the result of Ukrainian shelling rather than its explosives. Meanwhile, the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday that there were no signs of mines or explosives at the ZNPP, but requested additional access to the site for confirmation. “Access to the roofs of reactor units three and four is required, as well as the agency’s access to the turbine hall and parts of the plant’s cooling system,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.
Where is the Nuclear Power Plant?
ZNPP is located on the banks of the Dnieper River, next to the city of Enrhodar. This plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe in terms of number of units and production. When the war between Ukraine and Russia started in February last year, a large area of Zaporizhzhya was taken over by the Russian army.
According to Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom, the plant is operated mostly by Ukrainian workers. When the war started, one of the plant’s six reactor units was shut down for maintenance. After Russian troops seized the plant, Ukrainian workers shut down the rest of the units as well. However, corrosion continued around the plant last summer.
Currently, the reactors of the plant have been cooled down. If the claimed explosives detonate, it will open up a cooled reactor. In this situation, the fuel released will dissolve in the air, releasing some radiation. Experts say, ‘A balloon will emerge from the reactor where the radiation will be aerosolized. This will create a radiation zone where you will be more susceptible to cancer over the next 40 years. However, it will not have the same impact as the Chornobyl incident in 1986. Let us tell you that on April 26, 1986, there was a terrible explosion at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant of the then-Soviet Union.
This explosion was so devastating that 32 employees who worked here were killed in a few hours while hundreds of employees were badly burned due to nuclear radiation. Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear expert Cheryl Roffer says, ‘ZNPP’s six reactors are not at all like the Chernobyl reactor and they cannot have the same type of accident.’