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Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant facing ‘catastrophic’ staff shortage amid Russian evacuation

Russia plans to relocate thousands of staff from nuclear plant, atomic energy company claims, warning of ‘catastrophic lack of qualified personnel’

Associated Press, 11 May 23

Russia plans to relocate about 2,700 Ukrainian staff from Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Ukraine’s atomic energy company has claimed, warning of a potential “catastrophic lack of qualified personnel” at the Zaporizhzhia facility in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine.

Workers who signed employment contracts with Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom following Moscow’s capture of the Zaporizhzhia plant early in the war are set to be taken to Russia along with their families, Energoatom said in a Telegram post on Wednesday.

The company did not specify whether the employees would be forcibly moved out of the plant, nor was it immediately possible to verify Energoatom’s claims about Moscow’s plan.

Removing staff would “exacerbate the already extremely urgent issue” of staff shortages, Energoatom said.

The Moscow-installed governor of the region ordered civilian evacuations from the area last Saturday, including from the nearby city of Enerhodar where most plant workers live. The full scope of the evacuation order was not clear.

Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia plant days after Russian president, Vladimir Putin, ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russian occupiers left the Ukrainian staff in place to keep the plant running but the exact number of workers currently at the plant is not known.

Fighting near the plant has fuelled fears of a potential catastrophic incident like the one at Chornobyl, in northern Ukraine, where a reactor exploded in 1986 and contaminated a vast area in the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Zaporizhzhia is one of the 10 biggest nuclear plants in the world. While its six reactors have been shut down for months, it still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features…………………. more


May 12, 2023 - Posted by | safety, Ukraine

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