The world narrowly escaped a nuclear catastrophe as electricity to Europe’s largest Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor complex (ZNPP) based in Ukraine was cut for hours due to Russian Shelling on Thursday, August 25, 2022.
The news was claimed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Zelensky affirmed, “Europe had come ‘one step away’ from disaster, which was only averted because the automation systems had turned on diesel generators.”
Confirming the cause of the accident, he further stated – “The incident at Zaporizhzhia was caused by Russian shelling, which had damaged the plant’s connection to Ukraine’s power system.”
Drawing world’s attention towards the recent happening, he furthered, “The world must understand what a threat this is- if the diesel generators had not turned on; and if the automation, and our staff of the plant had not reacted after the blackout, then we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of the radiation accident.”
According to the sources, the power supply is generally ensured by backing it up with diesel generators, acting as a vital element for cooling and safety systems at the plant.
Russia had captured the plant earlier in the month of March, following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, has controlled it since then, although Ukrainian technicians still operate the power plant.
Meanwhile, according to a statement made by a foreign ministry spokesperson, “Germany condemned Russia’s continued occupation of the plant. The situation (there) is still very, very dangerous.”
However, France’s president Emmanuel Macron urged the global leaders to commit for ‘civilian nuclear power’ to be ‘fully protected’ and not be used as ‘an instrument of war’ in reference to Zaporizhzhia.
He stated, “War must not under any circumstances undermine the nuclear safety of the country, the sub-region and all of us.”
While Russian-installed officials in the nearby occupied town of Enerhodar, Vladimir Rogov claimed, “Ukraine’s armed forces for a fire in a forest near the plant. The towns in the area had lost power for several hours on Thursday (August 25).”
He wrote on Telegram, “This was caused by the disconnection of power lines from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station as a result of provocations by Zelenskyy’s fighters and the disconnection itself was triggered by a fire and short-circuit on the power lines.”
Besides, head of Ukraine’s south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky has also blamed the transmission-line damage on a Ukrainian attack.
Meanwhile, as stated by the sources on Friday, August 26, 2022 – “The electricity for the plant’s own needs was being supplied through a power line from Ukraine’s electricity system, and work to resume the operations of the plant’s two functioning reactors was ongoing, with one now operating at 10 percent capacity.
The story from Russia appeared different again when the Defence Ministry stated that its forces had destroyed a US-made M777 howitzer, which it said Ukraine had used to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
While delivering its usual media briefing, the Russian defence ministry mentioned that the howitzer had been destroyed west of the town of Marganets, in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region and the report could not be immediately verified.
Following which, Kyiv has strongly denied Russian claims.