Workers flee Russian-held nuclear plant in Ukraine amid reactor meltdown fears

Workers on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant in Ukraine are quitting in droves to get away from what they imagine is perhaps one other “Chernobyl-like” disaster within the making.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear advanced in southeastern Ukraine has change into a hotbed of battle within the six months since Russia invaded the nation. In March, the plant was captured by Russian forces, though Ukrainian technicians nonetheless function it.

Caught within the crosshairs of the warfare, injury to the plant advanced was inevitable. Occupation of the plant by Russian forces can be hampering security inspections and the substitute of essential components, stated specialists. The ongoing battle can be placing an enormous pressure on the lots of of workers operating the plant.

Elena, a employee on the plant, instructed CNN that the “constant explosions” across the plant had her fearing for her son’s life and her personal. After sticking it out for almost six months, she determined to depart after a colleague was killed by Russian troops, who steadily get drunk and hearth their machine weapons into the air, she alleged.

Another worker on the plant, Daria, claimed there was a “crazy outflow of staff” in current weeks over fears of what the enemy forces may do subsequent. Workers are underneath immense psychological strain as their numbers dwindle, and day by day, they dwell in a “state of powerless anger.”

“We have people leaving en masse, dozens of them, in packs,” Daria told CNN.

Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power operator Energoatom, told CNN that Ukrainian staff at the Zaporizhzhia plant is working in “very dangerous” conditions. Recently, a video showed that Russian forces had placed 20 trucks in two turbine halls at the complex.

“We imagine there (are) explosive supplies inside these vans,” Kotin said. “And that may be very harmful.”


Kyiv and Moscow have frequently traded blame for the plant’s precarious state. Ukrainians have accused the Russian troops of using the plant as a shield and risking serious damage to it, while the Kremlin has claimed that Zelenskyy’s forces are shelling the nuclear complex.


The latest incident is testimony to this back-and-forth.


On Wednesday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed a nuclear disaster was averted by a whisker after shelling by Russian forces cut off electricity to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for several hours.

“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans one step away from a radiation disaster,” Zelenskyy said,

He said that due to damage to the power transmission in the Russian shelling, two of the six nuclear reactors that are still operational went offline. The plant’s emergency backup diesel generators had to be activated to supply power needed to run them.

On the other hand, Zaporizhzhia’s Russian-installed regional governor, Yevgeny Balitsky, blamed the transmission-line damage on a Ukrainian attack.


Zelenskyy has accused Russia of “nuclear blackmail” at Zaporizhzhia. Pleas by the UN to withdraw all troops and military equipment from the plant and setting up of a demilitarised zone around it have far been in vain.

An armed conflict near a working atomic plant is troubling for many experts and people living nearby.

Liudmyla Shyshkina, a 74-year-old widow who lives in the town of Nikopol next to the Zaporizhzhia power plant, said she believes the Russians are capable of intentionally causing a nuclear disaster.

Paul Bracken, a national security expert and professor at the Yale School of Management, told Reuters the concern was that artillery shells or missiles could puncture the reactor walls and spread radiation around potentially a large area, much like the 1986 accident involving the Chernobyl reactor.

A failure at the Zaporizhzhia plant could “kill lots of or 1000’s of individuals, and injury environmentally a far bigger space reaching into Europe,” Bracken stated.

“Anybody who understands nuclear safety issues has been trembling for the last six months,” Mycle Schneider, a marketing consultant and coordinator of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, instructed the Associated Press.

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