With the largest aid package .. Biden congratulates Ukraine on Independence Day

With the largest aid package .. Biden congratulates Ukraine on Independence Day

The Guardian newspaper revealed a Russian plan to “disconnect Europe’s largest nuclear plant from the Ukrainian power grid, which could lead to a catastrophic failure in its cooling systems”.

Many world leaders called for the withdrawal of military forces from the Zaporizhia site, after footage emerged of Russian army vehicles inside the station, and previously warned Russia not to cut it off from the Ukrainian grid and connect it to the Russian electricity grid.

Petro Kotin, head of the Ukrainian Atomic Energy Corporation, told the newspaper that “Russian engineers have already drawn up a plan (…) for emergency power cuts.”

“The Russians presented the plan to the station workers, who in turn submitted it to the company,” he explained.

He added in the interview, which was conducted on the day of celebration of Ukraine’s independence, on Wednesday, that the plan may cause serious damage to all lines connecting the Zaporizhia station to the Ukrainian network.

He noted that he “fears that the Russian military may target these lines to make the emergency scenario a reality.” Ukraine and Russia accused each other of bombing the perimeter of the site.

He pointed out that “the station’s electricity connections are already in a critical situation, as three of the four main lines connecting it to Ukraine’s network were disrupted during the war, and two of the three backup lines connecting it to a conventional power station are also down.”

Kotin stressed that “the Russian plan to completely disconnect it from the grid will increase the risk of a catastrophic failure by leaving it dependent on a single source of electricity to cool the reactors.” “You can’t switch from one system to another right away,” he said. “You have to (…) close everything on one side, and then start switching to the other side.”

While switching between grid systems, the plant will rely solely on a standby diesel generator, with no other options should that fail. After just 90 minutes without electricity, the reactors would reach dangerous temperatures.

“During this season, the plant will not be connected to any power source, which is the reason for the danger (…) if you fail to provide cooling (…) for an hour and a half, then you will have thaw already,” Cotten said.

Russia took control of the Zaporizhia station in March, but it is still run by Ukrainian workers. There has been growing concern about the Russian administration of the site in recent weeks, and pressure on Moscow to allow UN inspectors to visit.

Putin agrees to an international assessment of the Zaporizhia nuclear plant in Ukraine

On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Russia, during a visit to Ukraine, not to cut off the Zaporizhia power plant, which it controls in the south of the country, from the Ukrainian electricity grid, at a time when Kyiv and Moscow exchanged accusations of bombing the site.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that the International Atomic Energy Agency would send a mission to the Ukrainian nuclear plant, Zaporizhia, the largest in Europe, expressing his fear that the bombing around the plant would lead to a “large-scale catastrophe.”

On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Russia, during a visit to Ukraine, not to cut off the Zaporizhia power plant, which it controls in the south of the country, from the Ukrainian electricity grid, at a time when Kyiv and Moscow exchanged accusations of bombing the vicinity of the site.

Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian plant operator, Energoatum, said it feared such a scenario, stressing that Russian soldiers were looking for supplies for diesel generators to be used after the reactor was shut down and had imposed restrictions on staff access to the site.

“The electricity in Zaporizhia is, of course, Ukrainian electricity, and this principle must be respected,” Guterres said during a press conference on the sidelines of a visit to the Ukrainian port of Odessa on the Black Sea.

Send a mission as soon as possible

“The systematic bombing of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant area raises the risk of a large-scale catastrophe that could lead to radioactive contamination of vast areas,” Putin warned during a telephone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.

The two presidents stressed “the importance of sending an International Atomic Energy Agency mission to the nuclear plant as soon as possible, to assess the situation on the ground,” according to the Kremlin, noting that “the Russian side confirmed its readiness to provide all necessary support to the agency’s inspectors.”

The Russian president agreed that the mission would pass through Ukraine and not through Russia, as he had previously stipulated, according to what the Elysee Palace announced.

In a statement Friday evening, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, welcomed “recent statements indicating that Ukraine and Russia support the IAEA’s goal of sending a mission” to the Zaporizhia plant.

The statement added that the agency “is in active consultations with all parties” to send a team “as soon as possible, to be led by” Grossi “himself.”

“In this very volatile and fragile situation, it is important that no further action be taken that could jeopardize the safety and security of one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” Grossi stressed.

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