What's happening around the large Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

What's happening around the large Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

The areas surrounding the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Europe, have been hit since last August 5. The issue is of great concern to the international community. Last week, UN Secretary General António Guterres asked Russia and Ukraine to stop the clashes in the area surrounding the plant and establish a demilitarized zone to prevent any accidents. Even before the bombing began, Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Aiea), had defined the situation in the plant, which since last March 4 has been under the control of Russian forces, "completely out of control ”, reaffirming that“ every principle of nuclear safety has been violated ”and that the consequences could be“ extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous ”.

Who did it? Complicating the matter further is the fact that Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for the attacks, and since the plant is under the control of the Russian army but is located very close to the front line, it is difficult to reconstruct. reliable. The Wall Street Journal attempted to do so, and after consulting several sources, concluded that Russia is behind the attacks, and that the purpose of the attack is to disconnect Zaporizhzhia from the country's electricity grid. Before the war, the power plant supplied a fifth of all electricity produced in Ukraine and if the country were deprived of its contribution, it would be in serious difficulty, also considering the critical situation of the energy market in Europe. Russia, however, currently has no infrastructure to divert production flows.

To reconstruct the story, the Wall Street Journal spoke mostly with Ukrainian sources, both authorities and staff members of the power plant, made up of Ukrainians despite the fact that the plant is under Russian control. The Russian sources that were contacted limited themselves to denying everything, but without providing alternative explanations. According to the reconstruction, the elements confirming the responsibility of the Russian forces are different. Staff members of the plant claim that the first attack, on August 5, took place under strange circumstances, because Russian personnel had evacuated the plant area before it happened, and were behaving strangely quiet, when they usually do. "If there is even a single Ukrainian drone flying over the plant, the Russians will run away in panic," said one of the employees. Several sources, both Ukrainian and external, also claim that the attacks are aimed at damaging the infrastructure that brings electricity to Ukraine, and that Smerch missiles, mostly used by Russian forces, were used. These are not definitive elements, but that of the Wall Street Journal is so far the most documented and plausible reconstruction that has been produced.

The UN would like to enter Reuters reports that the UN would have the logistical and security capacity to assist in a visit by the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Aiea) to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant of Zaporizhzhia, but Russia has imposed as a condition not to go through Kyiv, and the authorities of both sides must agree on the modalities of the mission. According to the Ria agency, Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy director of the nuclear proliferation department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, explained that passing through the Ukrainian capital would mean that "they would arrive at the nuclear power plant through the front line", which "represents a huge risk. ". Rafael Grossi, who has already successfully led the mission to secure the Chernobyl power plant a few months ago, said he was willing to lead an IAEA mission.

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