Russia’s warning over Europe’s largest power plant

Russias warning over Europes largest power plant

Michael Lawless, Staff Writer

For months the citizens of Ukraine have worried about Russia’s control over Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest power plant and now those fears might become reality. Since August 5th around the nuclear power plant has intensified, some even directly hitting the plant causing concern of an immanent nuclear disaster to rise. This had led to several Citizens fleeing their homes, fearing that a meltdown is imminent

According to Ukrainian officials, Russian troops have occupied the plant back since the start of the war in early March, using it to store military equipment and ammunition, accusations which Russia deny. Russian forces claim the shelling came from Ukrainian forces in a bid to take Europe hostage. A statement by the Russian’s foreign ministry Kyiv is actively blocking the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from visiting the plant. Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova states that Moscow has put forth their full effort to facilitate a visit but is stopped by Kyiv. Ukraine has rebuked these claims, insisting that the Russian forces are using the power plant for blackmail.

But why does Russia’s control over the plant have the entire world standing on edge? Concern over the facility began back in March when Russia took control over the facility, part of the plant being set aflame after a projectile made contact with it. The fire was extinguished and no signs of radioactive matter we recorded but it was the first time conflict had broken out between Russia and Ukraine on the outside of the active plant. All while this is happening workers continue to operate the facility while only two out of six of its reactors are providing power to Ukraine’s grid.

Outside of Ukraine other countries have voiced their own concerns, with the main fear being that of a meltdown similar to either the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 or the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima in Japan. While experts say such a scenario is unlikely there still is a small possibility. The most likely source being that during the conflict the power to the power plant would be cut causing the plant’s cooling system to fail, if not for the three back up generators that run on diesel fuel.

Several prominent figures have come forward giving their comments on the situation such as U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying “Damage to the nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine would be suicide.” The US has requested that Russia pull its military operations away from the facilities and return control to the Ukrainian government but Russia refuses saying that their presence is necessary in preventing any nuclear accident’s on Ukraine’s part.