Russia warns of nuclear disaster if ZNPP shelling continues
In light of the recent shelling that hit the Zaparozhye nuclear power plant, Moscow warns that a nuclear disaster could be imminent.
Further Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) may lead to a real nuclear disaster, an adviser to the head of Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, said Monday.
"A nuclear disaster could take place. A nuclear reactor is working, its power supply stops because of the shelling... How could a reactor be cooled down? Not cooling it down could lead to the reactor's overheating, and then it could result in a disaster," Renat Karchaa, an advisor to Rosenergoatom's CEO, told Russian broadcaster Channel One.
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian troops subjected the Zaporozhye NPP to massive artillery shelling, damaging strategic facilities by conducting strikes with 155-caliber NATO ammunition in the first mass shelling since late September.
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) examined the damage and, while confirming its "widespread" scale, said that they had found no immediate nuclear safety threats. However, IAEA head Rafael Grossi said he had "intensified consultations" on the creation of a protection zone around the plant.
Widespread damage in ZNPP
IAEA experts found widespread damage done to the territory of the ZNPP, the agency announced on Monday in a statement after four IAEA nuclear safety, security, and safeguards experts visited the ZNPP.
The four-man team carried out the visit to the ZNPP after heavy shelling hit the facility over the weekend, the UN nuclear watchdog announced, noting that the personnel at the ZNPP have already started repair works.
"The status of the six reactor units is stable, and the integrity of the spent fuel, the fresh fuel, and the low, medium, and high-level radioactive waste in their respective storage facilities was confirmed," the statement added.
Additionally, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced that "An expert team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today assessed the extent of damage caused by intense shelling over the weekend at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP)."
"They were able to confirm that – despite the severity of the shelling – key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns," Grossi added.
Ukrainian troops have shelled the ZNPP with massive artillery shelling, damaging strategic facilities, according to an advisor to the head of Rosenergoatom, which is a subsidiary of Rosatom, a Russian nuclear energy company.
"The Ukrainian military launched a massive strike directly at the station. Twelve rockets were fired. It is known that six of them hit the cooling system of reactors, two — hit the dry cask storage [of radioactive waste]. The consequences of the shelling cannot be determined yet since the risk of repeated attacks remains," the advisor said.
Earlier this month, Zaparozhye region official Vladimir Rogov revealed that Polish mercenaries and members of the Ukrainian nationalist Kraken Regiment are fighting alongside Ukraine on the Zaporozhye front.
In October, Ukrainian authorities began planning for another offensive on Zaporozhye, "for the near future": "In addition to amassing troops to the front line, videos are now being widely filmed for the Western consumers with stories about what the Zaporozhye region is, how and why it should be 'liberated.' This is clearly being done in order to solicit for even more weapons for criminal intentions," Rogov said.
"These are the Nazis who were brought here from Kharkov," he indicated.
Kiev authorities may decide to incite or escalate hostilities in the next two or three weeks, as per the official.
It is worth noting that Russia signed four unification treaties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics alongside the Kherson and the Zaporozhye Regions in October.
The DPR and LPR split from Ukraine in 2014 and shortly after launching a military operation in February this year, Russia seized Kherson Region and a larger part of Zaporozhye Region. The new laws, as per the State Duma, dictate that the DPR and LPR will maintain their status as republics, while Zaporozhye and Kherson will continue to be addressed as "regions". Russian will be considered the official language of all the recently accessioned constituents.
In February 2022, the Donbass republics were recognized as independent states by the Kremlin after requesting that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country to not join any Western military bloc.