Ukraine: EU on brink of ‘full-fledged nuclear’ disaster after Russia assault | World | News

Russian forces have disconnected Ukraine‘s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian power grid for the first time in its history, according to Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom, before reconnecting it. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant generates about 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity. Nation Security expert Joseph Cirincione and founder of a public grant-making foundation focused on nuclear non-proliferation, warns the assault on the Ukrainian nuclear plant could trigger a nuclear disaster reminiscent of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

When asked about how dangerous the Russian move is, Mr Cirincione said: “Yes, this is an ongoing catastrophe.

“You know that the war is getting hotter and hotter. And it wouldn’t take much to tip this over into a full-fledged nuclear catastrophe.

The US national security expert laid out Vladimir Putin’s three goals in this war of attrition in Ukraine

“One is to terrorise the people of Ukraine and the West by this nuclear catastrophe. It’s the continuation of the kind of nuclear terrorism he’s instigated since the beginning of this war, threatening nuclear disaster.”

Mr Cirincione continued: “Number two, he wants to pummel and punish the people of Ukraine by cutting off their electricity, making life miserable for them, trying to convince them to surrender.

“And number three, we now know that there are Russian plans to steal the entire electric output of this plant. They want to cut off permanently the connection to the Ukrainian electric grid and switch it over and have this plant bring electricity to Russia.

“They want to annex this plant just as they want to annex portions of Ukraine.

“This is a triple threat,” Mr Cirincione warned.

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Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom reported fires around the nuclear plant caused the last remaining power line to disconnect twice. The plant lines were “lost earlier during the conflict”, Energoatom said, as Russia has taken control of the plant since March.

In a CNN interview, Energoatom chief Petro Kotin accused Russia of trying to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian grid “and then try to reconnect it to Russian system.”

The only way to achieve this, Mr Kotin said, is a full shutdown of the plant “and a full cut of all lines which are connected to the Ukrainian system. Because the frequencies right now are different, Russian frequency and Ukrainian frequency — we are synchronized with European system, and they’re synchronized with Russia.”

Speaking of the potential long-term impact of a nuclear disaster, Top US State Department official Bonnie Jenkins warned that Russia’s actions at the plant “have created a serious risk of a nuclear incident, a dangerous radiation release that could threaten not only the people and environment of Ukraine, but also affect neighbouring countries and the entire international community.”

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According to the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, radioactive particles would mainly affect Ukraine, but would also affect neighbouring EU countries such as Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Letonia, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Slovakia.

“If our station staff had not reacted after the blackout, then we would have already been forced to overcome the consequences of a radiation accident,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a nightly address.

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it is “urgent” the UN’s atomic watchdog be allowed to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

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