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Ukrainian authorities start training to prepare for possible Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

by Dinara Khalilova June 29, 2023 12:30 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuer attends an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Aug. 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant located in neighboring Enerhodar. (Photo by Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Large-scale special exercises have begun in Ukraine to prepare for a potential Russian attack on the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the state nuclear energy agency Energoatom reported on June 29.

Energy workers, medics, rescuers, police, and other services in Kherson, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts are involved in the exercises.

They will work through the algorithms for reacting to such an emergency and protecting the civilian population. Energoatom urged residents to stay calm if they see the training.

Earlier, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said that evacuation headquarters had been set up in the oblasts surrounding the plant, located in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukraine plans to evacuate residents who live within a 30-50 kilometer radius.

On June 23, Ukraine's military intelligence head Kyrylo Budanov told the New Stateman that Russia had completed preparations for an attack on the nuclear power plant, mined the plant's cooler, and placed the equipment loaded with explosives near four of the six power units.

Life near Russian-occupied nuclear plant: ‘I don’t know if tomorrow will come’
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent talked to residents who are still in Russian-occupied Enerhodar and those who recently left but still have family in the city. For their safety, we do not disclose their identities. When Russian soldiers captured Enerhodar, the satellite city of the Zaporizhzhia…

However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported that no new mines were discovered at the plant's cooler during a recent visit by its chief, Rafael Grossi. The White House has said it sees no indication that a nuclear threat in Ukraine "is imminent."

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia may be signaling its readiness to sabotage the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to prevent a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area.

Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant's dam, followed by the draining of the Kakhovka reservoir, has also posed risks for the nuclear plant. The plant used the reservoir as a water source, especially for the ponds that cool the reactors.

The situation prompted a monitoring mission by Grossi. According to the IAEA chief, the plant is now using water from a discharge channel of the nearby Zaporizhzhia thermal power plant.

The water level in the channel was at 17 meters as of June 21 and is projected to provide cooling for the plant "for many weeks."

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe, has been under Russian occupation since March 2022. Russian forces have used it as a military base to launch attacks on Ukrainian-controlled territory.

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