Russian Forces Escalate Tensions Around Ukraine’s Nuclear Plant

Russian Forces Escalate Tensions Around Ukraine's Nuclear Plant

( – The Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) in Ukraine is best known for the April 1986 accident, labeled the worst nuclear accident in history. Another leak of that size or even bigger could be possible as the Russians move into and around the NPPs throughout the nation. Authorities worry the repercussions could mean radiation exposure throughout Europe.

A Word of Warning

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Russians are setting up around the exclusion zone and transporting weapons into the area, according to Reuters and later reported by OANN. There is a valid concern that the move could damage the containment vessel of the fourth reactor. She explained if this happens, it will release radioactive contamination in amounts large enough to impact Europe.

Vereshchuk noted fires in the zone, but the Nutroops would not let firefighters get into the area to contain them. She called the military’s actions irresponsible and asked the United Nations to immediately dispatch a mission to assess the risks and remove potential hazards to prevent a repeat of the 1986 incident.

Russian Response

Russian authorities continue to deny having soldiers in the area. There is proof troops were there in the early days of the conflict, as BBC noted soldiers were preventing workers from doing their jobs to keep the facilities stable and refusing to let them leave. But according to reports, Yuri Fomichev, the mayor of Slavutych, the town that housed workers after the 1986 incident, said the soldiers left the area over the March 26 weekend.

Rising Concerns

Even if the Kremlin is not setting up at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the conflict still risks leading to a massive emergency. Ukraine has four NPPs and 114 organizations with nuclear materials for operations. The United Nations notes Russians have been shelling near Zaporizhzhya NPP, which is larger than Chernobyl.

Bombing near, or on an NPP could lead to explosions and leaks, compromise safety systems, and knock out electricity, which is critical to maintaining the cooling systems. The UN says this creates a genuine concern over a Chernobyl-type accident happening again.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is monitoring the situation. It has enhanced concerns about staff being able to get in and out of the facilities at Chernobyl. Also, there are documented disruptions in communications and monitoring systems at the various NPPs, which all increase the instability of operations and decrease the ability for safe management.

After the April 1986 accident at Chernobyl, the leaked radioactive material led to large-scale evacuations, exposure deaths, radiation sickness, increased cancer diagnoses, pregnancy complications, congenital disabilities, stillbirths, and psycho-social effects. The risks are huge to anyone living near Ukraine, so authorities are sounding the alarm over their concerns about Russia’s actions.

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