On the 18th, Russia attempted to disconnect Zaporizhzhia NPP from the grid in what Ukraine’s nuclear authority claimed was to reroute the generated electricity to Crimea. An offsite power line was damaged, leaving the plant on diesel backup power at one point. The plant currently has one external connection to the grid that has been restored and a connection to the nearby thermal power plant that can provide power to the reactor systems.
On the 27th there was another incident of shelling at the plant.
Ukraine’s nuclear regulator raised concerns that the shelling and damage to the plant have increased the risk of fires, hydrogen leaks, and the release of radioactivity. Russia had shelled the plant three times on the 27th. Photos from CNN showed Russian trucks packed into a turbine building, something Ukraine’s nuclear regulator cited as an extreme fire risk that could risk reactor safety.
Russia recently arrested several plant workers claiming they were sharing information with Ukrainian authorities.
On the 29th Ukraine’s nuclear regulator posted a radiation plume map to show what would happen if a significant accident happened at the plant. Based on weather conditions today, it would cover the Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine and into Russia.
A review of ambient radiation levels around Ukraine over the weekend showed consistently low levels. Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has assured that so far nothing has caused any offsite radiation releases.
Russian claims they are negotiating to allow IAEA inspectors into the plant. If this will take place is unknown.
This continues to be an extreme game of nuclear chicken with global risks.
Check back for updates as the situation evolves.
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