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Crisis at Chernobyl nuclear power station as fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces halt repairs

© Mads Eneqvist

KYIV (WNI) — Ukraine’s power operator has said that Russian forces have disconnected the Chernobyl nuclear power station from the main electricity grid.

Captured by Russian troops, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster is once again the scene of an escalating crisis as the station requires power to keep spent nuclear fuel rods cooled.

Diesel generators are reported to have a maximum reserve of 48 hours, after which they will run out and the cooling systems at the facility will no longer work, making “radiation leaks imminent” from spent nuclear fuel, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister.

The risk of the ongoing power shortage has raised the threat of a possible radiation leak from the facility that could spread across much of Europe including Russia if it is not dealt with. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that here was currently a sufficient volume of cooling water at the site that could be effective in heat removal without the need for electricity to be supplied.

The prospect of a nuclear accident has been increased since Russian and Ukrainian forces have exchanged fire around several nuclear power stations. One was damaged in what was considered a “close call” by international experts.

As the conflict drags on, it has been estimated that there has been over $10 billion in damage to civilian and military infrastructure in Ukraine.

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