Kyiv’s announcement at dawn today, Friday, that Russian fire targeted the Zaporozhye nuclear plant in central Ukraine and the largest in Europe, which resulted in a fire in a training building; A state of anxiety and fears of a nuclear disaster in Europe.
Amid Ukrainian assurances that no “essential” equipment in this station would be damaged, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saw this development as a resort by Moscow to “nuclear terror” and an attempt to “repeat” the Chernobyl disaster. What is the Zaporozhye nuclear plant?
Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and it is also one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world.
This nuclear plant is one of 5 nuclear power plants in Ukraine, located in the southeast of the country, specifically in the city of Enerhodar, and its six reactors are located on a prominent land protrusion adjacent to the Dnieper River with only one road to enter or exit.
The plant operates with 6 reactors, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each, the first 5 of which entered service between 1985 and 1989, and the sixth plant was commissioned in 1995. With a total net electric power of 6,000 megawatts, making it the most powerful in Europe.
The thermal power of the plant – about 20,000 megawatts – requires huge amounts of cooling water from the Dnieper River, which was expanded specifically for this site.
The plant produces from 37 to 38 billion kilowatt-hours annually, which is equivalent to a fifth of the electricity production in Ukraine.
Since the closure of the last reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2000, the activity of this plant has continued at a very high level to meet the country’s electricity needs.
According to Wikipedia, despite the relatively modern design of the reactors, the plant suffered several nuclear accidents, largely due to the financial difficulties of Ukraine, and between 1994 and 1997 $2 million was allocated for the maintenance of the plant.
It is noteworthy that this nuclear plant is located 200 km from the combat zones in the Donbass region.
Since the start of the Russian military campaign against Ukraine, the name of the Zaporozhye station has been repeatedly mentioned, amid growing fears of any reckless behavior by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier in the day, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Ukraine had detected “no change” in the level of radiation at the plant after the bombing and fire.
The international organization said in a tweet on Twitter that “the Ukrainian regulatory body informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that no change in radiation levels was recorded at the Zaporozhye plant site.”
The United Nations agency added that “Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that the fire that broke out at the site of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant did not affect the basic equipment,” noting that the station crew was taking measures” to contain and extinguish the fire.
Warning and Concerns
The agency called for a halt to the use of force near this nuclear facility, warning of a “grave danger” if its reactors were hit.
The agency said in another tweet that it “calls for a halt to the use of force and warns of a grave danger if the reactors are hit,” noting that its Director-General, Rafael Grossi, is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities and plant operators to assess the situation.
Following this bombing, the Ukrainian president accused Russia of resorting to “nuclear terror” and seeking to “repeat” the Chernobyl disaster.
The Chernobyl plant, which is currently controlled by Russian forces, is located about 100 kilometers north of Kyiv, and on April 26, 1986, witnessed the worst nuclear accident in human history, as a reactor exploded on that day and caused pollution in almost 3 quarters of Europe, and in the former Soviet Union.