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The plant has been completely cut off from electrical means and radiation leaks are "imminent", Ukrainian authorities told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday.
Russian troops established control over the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 24 when the Kremlin launched its special military operation in Ukraine. Both sides, Russia and Ukraine, agreed to ensure the plant's security jointly.
Nikolai Pankov, Russian deputy defense minister, disclosed that nationalist forces from Ukraine attacked a substation and the power cables conducting electricity to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. He qualified such an attack as an extremely dangerous instigation.
Pankov warned that Ukraine is hindering the organization of repair and restoration work. He argued that this demonstrates the provocative nature of the Ukrainian nationalists' actions. Otherwise, the deputy minister said that Russian specialists are making every effort to ensure the transition to reserve diesel generators at the Chernobyl site.
In this sense, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Pavel Sorokin recognized that Belarus has offered to connect the plant to the Belarusian energy system to restore electricity supplies to the plant permanently. Sorokin also accused Ukrainian authorities of being responsible for any interruptions of the work of compressor stations or provocations against them.
Chernobyl apparently no longer connected to the power grid The state-owned operator Energoatom announced on Wednesday that the Russian army had disconnected the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant from the power grid. The 750 KV line between #Chernobyl and #Kyiv was interrupted pic.twitter.com/wQjuyTpsrU
Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko affirmed that the disabled plant, which does not produce power of its own, has the capacity to maintain power independently through on-site diesel generators. However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the cooling systems of the spent nuclear fuel storage facility would stop once the backup generator stopped working, making radiation leakage imminent.
In this regard, the IAEA claimed that there is no critical security risk at the plant despite the loss of power. The agency also stated that the thermal load of the spent fuel storage pool and the volume of cooling water at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are sufficient to remove heat without the need for a power supply effectively.
European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell expressed that the situation in the Chernobyl plant is a source of concern. He called for the preservation of safety regarding the nuclear infrastructure in Ukraine. He said that he fully supports the IAEA in its interest in finding consent on practical solutions amid such a critical scenario.