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Zelensky accuses Russia of practicing “radiation blackmail.”

Zelenskyy of the Ukraine informs Rafael Grossi of the IAEA that while Russian soldiers were in charge of the site, safety at Europe’s largest nuclear facility was not guaranteed.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, informed the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that due to what he called Moscow’s “radiation blackmail,” the safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station could not be guaranteed while the facility was under Russian occupation.

At the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, which is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the same-named nuclear reactor, Zelenksyy met IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi on Monday, according to news sources. According to remarks made on Zelenskyy’s official website, Zelenskyy informed Grossi that the workers at the Zaporizhzhia facility were constantly under the control of Russian occupation forces who, in his words, were violating safety regulations and interfering with technological procedures.

All efforts to restore nuclear safety and security will fail, according to Zelenskyy, without an urgent departure of Russian personnel and forces from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and surrounding areas.

Zelenskyy later stated in his nightly video message that “holding a nuclear power station hostage for more than a year is without a doubt the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of European or international nuclear power.”

The largest nuclear power station in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia plant, was taken over by Moscow’s forces early in the conflict, and today, Russian and Ukrainian forces frequently accuse one another of endangering a catastrophic nuclear disaster by attacking the plant. Fears of a nuclear disaster have grown as a result of ongoing fighting close to the facility and worry that its cooling systems could go out of commission.

Six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station are currently shut down, and the plant is reliant on the only surviving power line to supply it with electricity in order to avoid a reactor meltdown. As a result of shelling, the plant was forced to switch to emergency diesel generators in order to operate its critical cooling systems. Fighting earlier this month caused the plant’s power supply to be disrupted for a half-day, forcing personnel to turn on backup generators.

Concerned about the trend, Grossi had expressed it.

When the most recent power outage occurred, he informed his agency that “each time we are rolling a dice.” And eventually, if we let this keep happening, our good fortune will run out.

According to Russian officials, connecting the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Russian power grid is a priority. Grossi claimed in a tweet earlier on Monday that he and Zelenskyy had a “rich exchange” over safeguarding the factory and its employees. Grossi, who will return to the plant this week, has advocated for a safety zone surrounding it on numerous occasions. Since his previous visit in September, the CIA has had employees stationed there permanently.

In order to lower the danger of accidents, notably at the now-closed Chernobyl plant, whose horrific nuclear catastrophe in 1986 spread fallout over much of Europe, the IAEA said in January that it was stationing teams of specialists at all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power reactors.

The issues brought on by Russian attacks at the Dnipro hydropower plant were also discussed by Zelenskyy with Grossi on Monday. While it fixes an estimated $1 billion in damage from Russian attacks that targeted the country’s power infrastructure, Ukraine is attempting to provide hydropower plants “maximum safety” by burying equipment underground, according to a senior industry official.

Ihor Syrota, the chairman of the state-run hydropower generating business Ukrhydroenergo, revealed on Monday that four of Ukraine’s nine hydropower plants had been harmed in strikes by Russia, which mostly hit electrical equipment and machine rooms at plants on the Dnieper and Dniester rivers.

The nine hydroelectric plants, which have a total capacity of 6,300 megawatts (MW), he claimed, typically produce around 10% of the energy used in Ukraine, but about 2,000 MW of that capability had been destroyed due to infrastructure damage. The rest of the capacity will be restored as soon as possible, this time with stronger protection, according to engineers who have already restored 500 MW of it.

According to an interview Syrota gave to the news agency Reuters, “We will conceal electrical equipment at existing stations.”

Everything that was previously intended to be on the surface will have a different structure if we have a new project—which, of course, we are reviewing—and we’ll hide it [underground].” he said.

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