The Zaporizhia power station, controlled by the Russian army, is closer to the front line after the partial destruction, on Tuesday, of a dam in southern Ukraine, whose water is used to cool the station and prevent a nuclear accident.
The attack, which Moscow and Kiev accuse of, led to floods that inundated about twenty towns and the evacuation of thousands of people, which sparked international outrage.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed, via Twitter, that there is no “immediate nuclear threat,” explaining that its experts at the site are “closely monitoring the situation”.
The same thing was confirmed by the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), at the same time ruling out “any risk of flooding (near the station) because the dam is downstream and not upstream,” 150 kilometers away, according to Deputy Director-General Karen Hervieu. France Press agency.
For its part, the Moscow-appointed administration in the region confirmed that the situation was under control.
At the moment, there is no threat to the safety of the Zaporizhia plant… The water level in the cooling basin hasn’t changed.
This plant previously produced 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity.
It continued to operate during the first months of the Russian attack before being shut down in September.
Since then, none of its six reactors has been able to produce energy.
“The good news is that the reactors have been out for several months… Therefore, the power is less,and the heat that is discharged is less compared to that which is emitted from an operating site”.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, confirmed in a speech to the Board of Governors meeting this week in Vienna, that the damage to the dam “is currently causing a decrease of five centimeters per hour”.
In the morning, the water level of the reservoir was about 16.4 meters.
Grossi warned that if the water level drops below 12.7 meters, it won’t be possible to pump it to supply the station’s cooling circuit, leaving only a few days to find a solution.
It’s necessary to constantly cool the fuel in the reactor cores, as well as the fuel in the storage ponds.
The French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety said, “Failure to cool may lead to a melting accident and radioactive emissions into the environment,” a scenario similar to what happened in Fukushima in Japan during the strong earthquake that caused the tsunami in March 2011.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said that those responsible for the plant are looking for “alternative sources,” noting that there is a “large basin” that preserves water nearby.
Since the reactors are shutdown, Grossi said, “that the basin might be enough to provide water for a few months”.
Grossi stressed that “it’s essential that the pelvis remain intact,” noting that “nothing should be done to undermine its integrity”.
He announced that he would visit the site again next week, after two previous visits since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
The Zaporizhia power station is at the heart of the conflict.
It has been bombed several times and has been cut off from the power grid seven times since it was captured by the Russian army on March 4, 2022.