‘One day our luck will run out’ – Outage at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant triggers fresh tension

At present, the nuclear plant is running on the diesel generators, which is the emergency resort.

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Ukrainian service members fire a shell from a towed howitzer FH-70 at a front line, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia Region, Ukraine. (Reuters photo)

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear plant, went off grid after Russia launched a fresh wave of massive missile attacks against Ukraine on Thursday. Latest on-ground reports confirm that as many as five people were killed in the attack in Lyiv. The power outage at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has sparked fresh tensions in the region. IAEA boss Rafael Grossi made an urgent plea for a safe zone around the plant saying that he was astonished with the ‘complacency’ in the matter. Terming the missile attack a ‘roll of dice,’ Grossi had a grim warning – ‘One day our luck will run out.’ He made this remark during a meeting of the Board of Governors of 35 nations, a Reuters report said.

The powerful missile strikes caused the disruption of the external power supply line of the nuclear plant. At present, the nuclear plant is running on the diesel generators, which is the emergency resort. The generators are the last line of defence to keep the cooling reactor working. If these generators also run out of fuel or the power supply is not restored, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant may witness a catastrophic meltdown.

“This is the sixth time – let me say it again sixth time, that ZNPP has lost all off-site power and has had to operate in this emergency mode,” Grossi told the board’s quarterly meeting, according to an IAEA statement.

After the reports of power outage at the nuclear plant, which has been under Russian control since the early phase of the war, Rosenergoatom CEO’s adviser said that ‘automation has started’. Rosenergoatom is the Russian state nuclear power operator. Renat Karchaa also said that there was no danger of any kind of ‘nuclear incident.’

Since February, Ukraine has been relatively ‘peaceful’ with no missile strikes from Russia. The Thursday missile attack shattered that calm in the war-hit nation.  Russia’s defence ministry said it had carried out a “massive retaliatory strike” on Ukrainian infrastructure as payback for a cross-border raid last week on a village in Russia’s Bryansk region.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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First published on: 09-03-2023 at 19:20 IST
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