Russian forces plan to connect Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to Crimea

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Russian forces plan to connect Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to Crimea

Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeast Ukraine are preparing to connect the plant to Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and are damaging the plant by reorienting its electricity production, according to Ukrainian operator Energoatom.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and was occupied early in its invasion by Russia.

Petro Kotin, Energoatom president, told Reuters that Russia wanted to connect the plant to its grid, a technically difficult process that requires the facility to be disconnected from the Ukrainian system before it can be connected to the Russian one.

Russian military forces present at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are implementing a program of Russian operator Rosatom aimed at connecting the plant to the Crimean electricity grid. To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. Three power lines have already been damaged by the Russians from August 7 to 9. The plant is operating with only one production line at the moment, which is an extremely dangerous way of working. The plant will be powered by generators running diesel when the last production line is disconnected. Everything will depend on reliability and fuel stocks. Kotin warned that the process of de-energisation of the plant in preparation to connect to Russia would be extremely dangerous.

We are already very close to this first stage of Fukushima - 1, because there is only one line. As soon as it is turned off, the station will switch to diesel, and after that everything will depend on the reliability of their work and the sufficiency of the fuel that is there for diesel engines at the ZNPP. Kotin spoke to CNN, claiming that the Russians' ultimate plan is to disconnect the plant from powering Ukraine and connect it to the grid to power occupied Crimea.

If there is no connection to the grid, then you can't provide electricity from the outside, then diesel generators will start. It will depend on the reliability of those generators. He said that this is a dangerous situation because if those stop, you can have a disaster of melting nuclear materials, comparing the potential fallout to the Fukishima disaster in Japan. If the situation worsens, we need to think about our population at the plant. We plan to be able to evacuate the personnel during war conditions. There could be a cloud, a radioactive cloud. The plant is located not far from the Crimean peninsula and has six of Ukraine's 15 reactors, capable of providing power for four million homes.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy raised the possibility of a nuclear disaster after strikes on the plant.

He said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that any attack on a nuclear plant would be suicide. I hope that the attacks will end, and at the same time I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant.

Recent fighting around the plant has caused the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA to warn of the real risk of a nuclear disaster.