Nuclear experts are debunking Ukrainian claims that the Chernobyl power plant could release radioactive substances because its severed power connection prevents it from cooling spent nuclear rods.
Ukrainian state-run nuclear company Energoatom claimed Wednesday that there was a danger of a radiation leak at the power plant, stating that a high-voltage power line had been damaged during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops occupying the now-defunct power plant.
The company claims that “radioactive substances” could eventually be released, threatening the rest of Ukraine and Europe, if there was no power to cool the spent fuel stored at the plant, which was the site of the world’s most severe nuclear accident in 1986 prior to the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.
“After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent,” warned Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter. “I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supply.”
Kuleba claims that reserve diesel generators at Chernobyl could only power the plant for 48 hours.
“After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent,” he said on Twitter. “I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supply.”
A U.S. official who spoke to NBC News said that “We don’t think the power being out at Chernobyl poses a radiation safety risk,” adding that the only concerns the U.S. has are with the country’s four active nuclear power plants.
Nuclear experts informed Rebel News that should a 'serious incident' occur from the uncooled spent fuel rods, any amount of danger it would pose to the public would be negligible at best.
Kuleba has previously made hyperbolic claims about the security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, warning that an attack on Zaporizhzihia Nuclear Power Station, “if it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl.”
Rebel News spoke to nuclear experts who said that the Zaporizhzihia plant cannot “physically explode” as claimed by the politician. Kuleba’s claims were also denied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which, while expressing concerns about the security of the plant, did not detect any spikes in radiation.