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Leak at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant: Russians cause chemical spill

Leak at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant: Russians cause chemical spill Zaporizhzhia NPP (Getty Images)

There is an ongoing leakage of reagents from the first circuit to the second on the 5th energy block of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) captured by Russian occupiers, according to national nuclear power company state enterprise Energoatom.

The cause of the incident was the actions of the Russian personnel when transferring the ZNPP's 5th energy block to a hot in violating operational rules.

"Despite the violations, the occupying authorities are reluctant to switch the block to a cold shutdown. Instead, they are using the steam generated by the 5th energy block for heating and meeting the station's internal needs," the statement says.

According to Energoatom, actions of the chief of the chemical department of the Russian Rosatom personnel, who lost control over the saturation of special water purification filters, make water from the first circuit with a solution of boric acid enter the deaerator machine room and then back to all steam generators.

What threat it poses

"The actions of the Rashists are completely incompetent. Their efforts to remove power unit #3 from repair and heat it to a hot state, in order to bring power unit #5 to a cold stop instead, is another attempt to continue nuclear blackmail and damage the equipment of another NPP power unit," says Petro Kotin, head of Energoatom.

According to him, the actions of the Russians at the seized Ukrainian NPP may lead to the loss of steam generator tube integrity

"By their actions, the invaders are once again threatening the safety of the station's operation and are causing the constant degradation of the equipment and the increase in the number of dangerous cases of its failure," the head of Energoatom said.

Kotin highlights that this could lead to an emergency at any moment.

Emergencies at occupied ZNPP

Since the ZNPP was occupied by Russian forces at the beginning of the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russians not only violated the operation of the station but also used its warehouses to store equipment and manpower. The station was disconnected from the energy system of Ukraine several times.

Thus, a number of emergencies have already happened at the ZNPP due to the invaders' license violations.

On November 14, there was a partial blackout at the station, affecting the 6th energy block. Diesel generators and safety systems were activated to address the situation. The station remained in this mode for 90 minutes, according to Energoatom.

There were also dangers on the 4th energy block when the heating caused leakage of radioactive coolant from the first to the second circuit, violating one of the barriers to the spread of radioactive contamination.

Earlier, the Ministry of Energy reported that the situation at the ZNPP was deteriorating. As stated by Minister Herman Halushchenko, the station has not been working for over a year and needs appropriate maintenance.

The ZNPP lost power on the night of August 10, and the station had to be switched to the only available backup line.

In early July, the ZNPP could be connected to the single available backup power line after complications caused by the explosion at the Kakhovska Hydroelectric Power Plant, which supplied water to the station's coolers.