International community on edge over Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Madrid Desk, Aug 8 (EFE).- The international community is again on edge, with the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine occupied by the Russians and coming under attack.
Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of putting the security of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in danger after it was the target of several attacks on Friday.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, called Monday for an international mission to assess the situation at the plant by the end of the month.
The attacks of Aug. 5-6 destroyed numerous surveillance sensors, so radiation levels cannot be monitored throughout the plant, Tsymbaliuk said at a press conference in Vienna.
He warned against the consequences of a potential accident.
Tsymbaliuk did not rule out a Russian attempt to disconnect the plat from the Ukrainian electricity grid and create a widespread blackout in the southern part of the country.
While the Ukrainians denounce Russian “blackmail,” the Russians demand pressure to be put on Kyiv to stop its attacks against Zaporizhzhia.
Despite being under Russian control since shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the plant continues to be run by Ukrainian technicians. On June 7, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the facility was functioning normally.
The plant is Ukraine’s largest single electricity provider, generating a fifth of the country’s annual production and half the output of all four of the country’s nuclear power plants.
Completed in 1995, Zaporizhzhia was recognized in 2000 as one of the three best nuclear power plants in the world based on IAEA requirements.
Together, Ukraine’s four nuclear plants have 15 reactors with capacity to generate 13,835 MW of electricity.
The Zaporizhzhia plant was struck on March 4 by a Russian projectile, according to the IAEA, which proposed talks between Russia and Ukraine to reach an agreement that would guarantee the safety of the nuclear power plants. EFE