Concerns about a radiation leak from the Ukrainian nuclear power plant are growing

Concerns about a radiation leak from the Ukrainian nuclear power plant are growing

Leak concerns radiation from the Ukrainian nuclear power plant is increasing

People receive iodine pills at a first-aid post in Zaporozhye, Ukraine, August 26, 2022.   Concerns about a radiation leak from the Ukrainian nuclear power plant are growing

After a fire and a temporary shutdown of all power units of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, authorities are distributing iodine tablets to residents of surrounding areas to protect against radiation

This Friday, authorities began distributing iodine tablets to residents living near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine in case of a radiation leak. This comes amid growing fears that the fighting around the complex could trigger a nuclear holocaust.

Officials say the move came a day after all of the ZNPP's power units were temporarily shut down due to fire on a power line. The incident heightened the fear of a nuclear catastrophe in the country, which is still haunted by the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1986.

There were also reports of continued shelling in the area throughout the night. Satellite imagery obtained from Planet Labs in recent days has shown the presence of fires around the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

Iodine tablets, which help block the absorption of radioactive substances by the thyroid gland in the event of a nuclear accident, were distributed to the public in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporozhye, about 45 kilometers from the nuclear power plant.

The United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is trying to send a team to check the nuclear power plant and ensure its safety. Officials have said preparations for the trip are well under way, but it remains unclear when it could take place.

The Zaporozhye NPP has been occupied by Russian forces but has been run by Ukrainian staff since the early days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine this year . Both sides repeatedly accused each other of shelling the object.

In Thursday's incident, Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for damaging a power line, causing the plant to be disconnected from the power grid.

What exactly went wrong is unclear, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the standby diesel generators of the nuclear power plant had to be running in order to supply electricity for the operation of the complex.

Electricity is required by nuclear power plants to run vital reactor cooling systems. The loss of cooling could lead to a meltdown of the reactor core.

The Ukrainian company Ukrenergo, the operator of Ukraine's power supply system, said on Friday that two damaged main lines have resumed operation and stable power supply to ZNPP.
< br /> Ukraine's nuclear energy agency, Energoatom, said the station has been reconnected to the grid and is already producing electricity “for the needs of Ukraine.”

“Nuclear workers of Zaporozhye NPP are real heroes! They tirelessly and firmly bear on their shoulders the burden of responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine and all of Europe,” the ministry said in a statement.

that the plant only supplies electricity to Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, and not to the rest of that country.

Concern spreads across Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron said the visit of representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency should be authorized by the authorities “as soon as possible”, warning: “Civilian nuclear power should not be an instrument of war.”

Lana Zerkal, adviser to the minister Energy of Ukraine, told the Ukrainian media that the logistics of the IAEA visit are still being worked out. Zerkal accused Russia of trying to sabotage the visit.

Ukraine said Russia was using the nuclear power plant “as a shield” by storing weapons there and striking around it. Moscow, for its part, accuses Ukraine of reckless shelling of the facility.

The Zaporozhye reactors are protected by thick reinforced concrete domes that experts say can withstand an accidental hit by an artillery shell. However, fears are largely related to the possible failure of the cooling system, as well as the risk of damage to the “spray cooling pools” where spent fuel rods are stored, which can lead to the release of radioactive substances.