Ukraine Warns Of Radiation Leak Risk After Power Cut At Occupied Chernobyl Plant

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The Ukrainian government says the Chernobyl nuclear power facility now controlled by Russia has lost power, threatening the cooling of radioactive material stored there and risking radioactive leakage.

A powerline to the power plant has been cut, the Ukrainian government said Wednesday, leaving the facility without electricity. Without power, the 20,000 spent-fuel assemblies stored there are at risk of overheating if the coolant evaporates.

“After that evaporation will occur, that will lead to nuclear discharge,” the Ukrainian government warned. “The wind can transfer the radioactive cloud to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Europe.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that the Chernobyl site has reserve diesel generators that have a 48-hour capacity to power the cooling systems.

A senior official at the UN atomic agency said the International Atomic Energy Agency will update on the situation soon “but no panic” at what has happened.

The organization late Tuesday said that it was no longer receiving data transmission from its systems at the Chernobyl nuclear facility for monitoring activities there.

Nuclear power plants typically have backup power. It couldn’t immediately be determined if the Chernobyl facility had such backup or if it was operational.

If there is a radiation release “wind can transfer the radioactive cloud to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Europe,” the Ukrainian government said. “People at Chernobyl are at risk of receiving a dangerous dose of radiation,” it added.

Fighting around the plant has made it impossible to carry out repairs at the facility, the Ukrainian statement said.