RRussian forces damaged Chernobyl-Kiev 750 kV high-voltage line and cut power to Chernobyl nuclear site, reports Joe Pinkstone.
Ukrainian authorities say this could lead to the release of radioactive substances into the air and the repercussions could be wide-ranging. Ukraine’s energy minister said the plant has about 48 hours of diesel to power emergency generators at the site.
Professor Claire Corkhill, chair of nuclear material degradation at the University of Sheffield, told the Telegraph: ‘It’s quite concerning.
She said the blackout of electricity at the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster could make it impossible to monitor fuel from the still-active reactor, leaving engineers blind to any spontaneous increase in nuclear activity.
The $2 billion Chernobyl New Safe Containment unit that contains the site also has a state-of-the-art air conditioning unit that extracts heat from the core and prevents condensation from forming and dampening the fuel.
Water, says Prof Corkhill, increases activity if it dampens the fuel, which could lead to higher activity levels, chain ration, the reactor going critical and an explosion.
“If they cut the electricity, I really don’t know what will happen to this building.” he said.
Energoatom, the organization that runs Chernobyl and the country’s active nuclear generators, said today that a power shortage will also affect spent nuclear fuel cooling and fire extinguishing systems as well as ventilation.