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IAEA Says 'No Critical Impact on Safety' at Chernobyl NPP Amid Reported Power Outage

© Министерство обороны РФ / Go to the mediabankSituation at the Chernobyl NPP, 26 February 2022.
Situation at the Chernobyl NPP, 26 February 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
Russian forces established control over the NPP on 24 February during the Russian operation to demilitarize Ukraine. Russian troops and Ukrainian forces subsequently reached an agreement to jointly ensure security at the facility.
Ukraine has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of the loss of power at the Chernobyl NPP, but “in this case the IAEA sees no critical impact on safety,” the agency has indicated in a pair of tweets.

“IAEA says heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at #Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sufficient for effective heat removal without need for electrical supply,” the agency wrote.

At the same time, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi considers the loss of power at the NPP a violation of a “key safety pillar on ensuring uninterrupted power supply,” the agency added.
Ukrainian energy operator Ukrenergo announced earlier in the day that Chernobyl had been “fully disconnected from the power grid,” with ongoing military operations said to make it impossible “to restore the lines.”
Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Western media that the plant has the capability to maintain power independently using diesel generators for several days.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed however that “cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop” after the capacity of diesel generators’ fuel runs out, “making radiation leaks imminent.”

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On Tuesday, Grossi called “on the forces in effective control” of Chernobyl to “urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there,” and reiterated his commitment to travel to the plant if needed to ensure the “commitment to the safety and security” of Ukraine’s power plants by all relevant parties.
The IAEA chief expressed “deep concern” about “the difficult and stressful situation facing staff,” and said that the regulatory authority is now only able to communicate with the plant via email. Grossi further indicated that data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the plant had been lost.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that the Russian military secured Chernobyl and the Zaporozhye NPP to prevent any provocations by Kiev.
On Monday, the Russian Defence Ministry reported that the Ukrainian Security Service and Azov neo-Nazi militants had mined the reactor at an experimental nuclear facility at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology, planning to blow it up and to claim that Russia carried out a missile attack on the facility.
Ukrainian servicemen are seen in the north of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine March 3, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.03.2022
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Last week, the Russian MoD accused Kiev of attempting to stage a “monstrous provocation” at the Zaporozhye NPP – the largest NPP in Europe, after clashes erupted in its immediate vicinity between Russian forces and Ukrainian saboteurs. Western media initially claimed Russian forces deliberately targeted the facility with artillery, but were later forced to retract these allegations after it was revealed that the firefight broke out after saboteurs attacked a Russian National Guard patrol from a building in an area adjacent to the plant. Guardsmen responded with small arms fire, and the saboteurs left the building and set it ablaze. Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after to put the fire out.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov accused Kiev of attempting to use the provocation at the Zaporozhye NPP to try to force the West to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “No sane Russian or Ukrainian serviceman would have dared to endanger” the plant, Azarov said.
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