Kyiv sounds alarm over Russian decision to activate reactor at contested nuclear facility
Zaporizhzhzhya NPP (photo - Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Facebook)

The Russian occuppation administration at the Zaporizhzhya NPP transitioned power unit No. 4 from cold shutdown mode, where residual decay heat is removed safely, to hot shutdown, increasing fission rates and heat levels inside the reactor in the process in violation of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate's license requirements. This further increased the probability of a radiation accident at the facility, reports the state NPP operator Energoatom.

"The presence of Russian military personnel, weapons and heavy equipment at the site of the Zaporizhzhya NPP, as well as non-compliance with the requirements of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate's licensing, leads to the inevitable degradation of the plant's equipment and systems, important for safety. This can lead not only to an increase in the number of equipment failures, but also to the occurrence of a radiation accident ", said Petro Kotin, president of Energoatom.

According to the requirements of SNRI licenses, all units of the plant must be exclusively in the "cold shutdown" state. Switching reactors to a "hot shutdown" state is prohibited.

"Such requirements for the operation of power units of the ZNPP were put forward due to the lack of timely and high-quality maintenance and necessary ongoing repairs of the equipment during the entire time of occupation of the plant," Kotin added.

The actions of the Russian military have already led to a number of emergency situations, Energoatom recalled. In particular, at power unit No. 4, as a result of its heating, radioactive coolant (water) leaked from the first to the second circuit, which is a violation of one of the barriers to the spread of radioactive contamination.

A similar situation occurred during the attempt of the Russian occupation administration to "warm up" power unit No. 6. In addition, its transfer to a "hot" shutdown led to a significant increase in the amount of liquid radioactive waste at the site, which carries potential harm to personnel, the population and the environment.

At the beginning of July, the General Staff of the Armed Forces reported that Russia may be preparing a false flag provocation at the Zaporizhzhya NPP in order to blame Ukraine.

On September 29, the IAEA General Conference approved a resolution on the immediate return of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to the full control of Ukraine.