Lviv, Ukraine: Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant could release radioactive material because it was unable to cool spent nuclear fuel after power connections were cut, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom said on Wednesday.
It said the fighting made it impossible to immediately repair high-voltage power lines leading to the factory, which was occupied by Russian troops after the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Energoatom said about 20,000 spent fuel assemblies at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant could not be kept cool during the outage.
Their warming could lead to “the release of radioactive material into the environment. The radioactive cloud can be carried by winds to Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other parts of Europe,” it said in a statement.
It added that without electricity, the factory’s ventilation system would also not work, exposing workers to dangerous doses of radiation.
On Tuesday, the United Nations nuclear watchdog warned that the nuclear material monitoring system at the Chernobyl radioactive waste facility had stopped transmitting data.
The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, still radioactive, is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Kyiv.
Its fourth reactor exploded in a failed safety test in April 1986, sending clouds of radiation raging across much of Europe.