Ukraine: There are indications that Russia may shut down the Zaporizhia NPP

After a power outage from a giant power plant – Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe – the southern part of Ukraine would feel it first.

Due to the war and lack of energy resources, Ukraine is preparing for the hardest winter since independence. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin how to resolve the dispute over the power plant.

“The Russian forces are currently looking for fuel suppliers for diesel generators,” Energoatom reported. Diesel generators would support cooling systems for highly radioactive nuclear fuel after the plant is shut down. The company repeated the accusation that Russia was preparing a “large-scale provocation”. The government in Moscow, in turn, threw the same accusation at Ukraine.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Friday asked that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant not be disconnected from Ukraine’s electricity grid, after Ukrainian media reported that Moscow planned to do so.

“It is clear that electricity from Zaporizhia is Ukrainian electricity… This principle must be fully respected,” the UN secretary-general said during a visit to the port of Odesa in southern Ukraine.

Internationally, Zaporizhzhia is receiving a lot of attention, because a strike on the reactors would cause a nuclear disaster similar to Chernobyl in 1986.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), warned in early August about “playing with fire and possible catastrophic consequences”, referring to the battles around the NPP. On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov assured that the Russian military presence is a guarantee that Chernobyl will not happen again.

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