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Putin and Macron trade blame over risk at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Last operating reactor has now been shut down, says Energoatom, to transfer facility to ‘safest state’

Guardian, Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv and agencies, Mon 12 Sep 2022 

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron have traded blame over safety concerns at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which has been a focal point of fighting in recent weeks.

Separate readouts of a phone call between the French and Russian presidents highlighted the difficulties in trying to find an accord to ensure safety at the site.

“The Russian side drew attention to regular Ukrainian attacks on the plant’s facilities, including
radioactive waste storage, which is fraught with catastrophic
consequences,” said a statement published on the Kremlin’s website. It
called for a “non-politicised interaction” on the matter with the
participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In its statement, the French presidency said the occupation by Russian troops of
the plant was what was putting it at risk. “He [Macron] asked that
Russian forces withdraw their heavy and light weapons and that the IAEA’s
recommendations be followed to ensure safety at the site,” the Elysee
said.

Earlier, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator said the last operating
reactor at the plant had been shut down and the plant “completely
stopped”. The six-reactor Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected from the
grid last week after all its power lines were disconnected as a result of
fighting in the area, and was operating in “island mode” for several
days, generating electricity for crucial cooling systems from its only
remaining reactor in operation.

Energoatom, the state-run operator of all
four of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations, said one of the power lines was
restored on Saturday night, allowing plant operators to shut down the last
reactor. “A decision was made to shut down power unit No 6 and transfer
it to the safest state: cold shutdown,” the operator said. Electricity
supply to the plant has been cut with increasing frequency over the past
few weeks, including at least three times last week. Energoatom said the
risk of continued damage to the supply line “remains high” and that it
did not want to risk the plant being powered by diesel generators, “the
duration of which is limited by the technological resource and the amount
of available diesel fuel”.

Guardian 11th Sept 2022

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/11/reactor-ukraine-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-shut-down-operator

September 20, 2022 - Posted by | politics international, Ukraine

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