NewsEuropeDam partially destroyed in Ukraine: why the Zaporizhia power plant is not...

    Dam partially destroyed in Ukraine: why the Zaporizhia power plant is not in “immediate danger”

    The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, located around the Russian-occupied areas of Kherson region, was partially destroyed by strikes overnight from Monday to Tuesday.

    Floods, civilians evacuated, environmental damage… and the specter of a nuclear risk which reappears. The partial destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine overnight from Monday to Tuesday means that the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe, “lost its source of cooling” according to an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.

    “The world finds itself once again on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe,” warned Mykhaïlo Podoliak.

    IAEA experts are “closely monitoring the situation”

    The management of the plant, installed by the Russian occupation, nevertheless assured that the situation was under control and that there was “no threat to the security” of it. “The water level in the cooling pond has not changed,” said Yuri Tchernichuk. Who to believe here?

    The IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), which has intervened several times since the start of the war in February 2022, spoke out again on Tuesday in the face of the fear of a nuclear disaster. The international organization attached to the UN has however been reassuring, at least in the short term.

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    “The IAEA experts” present on the site “are closely monitoring the situation,” the IAEA said in a tweet, finally considering that there was “no immediate nuclear danger” at the plant.

    Heat to evacuate, “but in very small quantities”

    Same diagnosis on the side of the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), which also rules out “any risk of flooding since the dam is downstream, and not upstream”, 150 km away, said the director. Deputy General Karine Herviou. Emmanuelle Galichet, teacher-researcher in nuclear physics at Cnam, agrees.

    “There is no danger today with Zaporijia because it is stopped and no longer produces electricity. There is still heat to evacuate but in very small quantities”, she explains on BFM TV.

    “Of the six cores, there is one which is in hot shutdown, the other five are in cold shutdown”, continues the lecturer on our antenna, “you are below 0.1% of the power that it produced when it was in operation”.

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    Four days of respite, then “a few” others to find a solution

    Emmanuelle Galichet also specifies that “other sources around are largely sufficient to cool” and that “the reservoir is always with at least 16m of water height”.

    The water in the reservoir was actually at around 16.4 meters in the early morning, which allows it to be operational for the next four days,” according to the Ukrainian operating company Ukrgidroenergo. If it falls below 12.7 meters, it can no longer be pumped to supply the cooling circuits of the plant, which leaves only “a few days” to find a solution, nevertheless warned the company.

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    The damage caused to the dam “is currently causing a decrease of the order of 5 centimeters per hour,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

    A “large basin” as a possible source of substitution

    The cooling of the fuel of the reactor cores as well as that placed in the storage pools is therefore not extremely urgent, but an emergency despite everything.

    “A prolonged cooling failure would lead to a meltdown accident and radioactive releases into the environment”, underlines the IRSN – a scenario similar to what happened in Fukushima in Japan during the powerful earthquake which caused a tsunami in March 2011.

    Those responsible for the site are looking for “substitute sources”, specifies the UN agency, which mentions the existence of a “large basin” of retention nearby. Since the reactors have been shut down, “it could be enough to supply water for a few months,” said Rafael Grossi.

    Hugues Garnier with AFP BFMTV journalist

    Source: BFM TV

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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