Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Russia Claims Eliminating 30 Ukrainian Soldiers Who Attempted To Attack Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

On October 12, Russia claimed its security forces eliminated Ukrainian forces attempting to seize the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe.  

Yevgeny Balitsky, acting governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, announced that at least 30 ‘Ukrainian saboteurs’ had participated in an attempt to attack the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. 

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File Image: Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

“The enemy,” he continued, was “approaching the plant on the boats.” However, they were spotted and shelled by Russian soldiers in time. According to the governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, most boats were sunk in the Dnieper river.

The alleged video can be viewed here.

Although Balitsky did not elaborate on how the boats carrying the Ukrainian military were struck, the alleged attack by Ukrainian forces was thwarted. On the other hand, the Ukrainian government has not commented on this event. 

Meanwhile, Russian state media reported that the Ukrainian power supply essential for the functioning of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) had been disrupted. Early on October 12, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog also said that the plant had lost all external power required for critical safety systems for the second time in five days. 

In response to news that Ukraine has stopped supplying electricity for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s requirements, Alexander Volga, head of the Energodar military-civilian administration, said that “we have again switched to backup generation sources to ensure all the processes going on at the Zaporizhzhia station.”

However, the electricity was later restored at the plant. “This morning’s outage was caused by shelling damage to a far-off sub-station, highlighting how precarious the situation is. We need a protection zone ASAP,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said.  

Concerns About The Safety Of The Nuclear Plant  

The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has become a flashpoint in Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. The shelling near the facility stoked fears of a nuclear disaster and has been the subject of blame trading between Moscow and Kyiv for months. The facility and its surroundings are currently under Russian military control.

The Ukrainian military is said to be constantly targeting the electricity transmission lines. On September 11, the sixth and last operable power unit of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility was turned down.

Later, Renat Karchaa, the head of Russia’s Rosenergoatom nuclear power engineering company, stated on October 11 that power transmission cables were again supplying electricity to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power station. 

Russia has accused Ukraine of aiming to retake the facility by force. However, Kyiv has rejected these claims. The damage caused by external bombardment and the presence of the Russian military at the plant was described in depth in an IAEA study published in September, along with any potential security issues at the plant. 

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Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

On the other hand, Ukraine’s national nuclear operator Energoatom, recently said on Telegram that the Dniprovska substation in the nearby Dnipropetrovsk region to the north was damaged. This resulted in the closure of a crucial communication line to the facility, which made the diesel generators automatically turn on. 

Grossi was cited in a Kremlin press release as saying that Russia has historically been the leading participant in issues involving using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The IAEA director emphasized how nuclear power is tied to many current problems, such as energy shortages and global warming, and its potential future role.

During an October 11 meeting between the Russian President and Grossi, Putin underlined that Russia had supported the agency’s operations wholeheartedly. Any part of the politicization of nuclear activity includes “excessive and harmful aspects.”

Grossi argues that these military activities in Zaporizhzhya increase the risk of a nuclear accident if they disrupt the plant’s external power cables. 

Grossi had previously called for establishing a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the ZNPP and had participated in high-level negotiations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine to hasten the agreement and establishment of such a zone.

Later this week, the IAEA head will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv for further discussions over the power plant. Nonetheless, concerns about the safety and security of the nuclear power plant will grow as it appears that Russia and Ukraine are not close to agreeing to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone.

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