Washington has cautioned Russia not to tamper with Europe’s largest nuclear power plant located in Ukraine, where US technology is lodged, CNN news broadcaster reported on April 18.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant – known as Enerhodar – has been a casualty of the Russo-Ukrainian war ever since Kremlin forces took over the facility within a week as part of a full-scale invasion that began on Feb. 24, 2022.
A letter from the director of the US Energy Department’s Office of Nonprofileration Policy addressed to Russian state-run Rosatom nuclear energy firm stated that it is “unlawful for unauthorized persons, including… Russian citizens and Russian entities… to willfully access” US technology.
The letter was “legitimate,” Shayela Hassan, the deputy director of public affairs for the National Nuclear Security Administration, told CNN.
Rosatom manages the occupied facility while its Ukrainian employees mostly run it.
At full capacity, the plant once supplied Ukraine with a fifth of its electric power. Kyiv has accused Russia and its military stationed around there of using the plant as human shield.
The Washington-based Brookings Institute says Moscow manipulates the plant “to protect Russian troops and military hardware.”
Not since the Chornobyl disaster has an atomic station been put under such danger. Ukrainians still remember the incident in 1986, when a faulty experiment occurred at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Kyiv region, then under the supervision of Kremlin-led Soviet authorities, who had initially covered up the accident.
After his second visit to the Zaporizhzhia facility on March 30, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said “the plant shouldn’t be attacked under any circumstances… I am now more convinced than ever that the protection of the plant is absolutely necessary.”
It has six reactors, and constant power blackouts have led to shutting up to four or five of them down to keep cooling them. Otherwise a fuel meltdown would occur.
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