Russia-Ukraine war: Chernobyl nuclear plant loses power, leaks imminent - Kuleba

IAEA has been notified. * Germany has no knowledge of radiation leaking. * France in contact with IAEA to assess the situation.

The remnants of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The remnants of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday Russia must urgently observe a temporary ceasefire to allow repairs on a power line to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, saying radiation could be leaked if an electricity outage continues.

"Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP. After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent," he said on Twitter.

The IAEA has been notified by Ukraine of a power outage at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, but said it did not pose a risk.

"Heat load of spent fuel storage pool and volume of cooling water at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sufficient for effective heat removal without need for electrical supply," the IAEA said in a statement.

Germany has no knowledge of radiation leaking from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, an environment ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"We have no knowledge that radioactive substances are leaking," the spokesperson told a regular government news conference.

 A geiger counter measures a radiation level at a site of fire burning in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, outside the village of Rahivka, Ukraine April 5, 2020. (credit: YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO/REUTERS) A geiger counter measures a radiation level at a site of fire burning in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, outside the village of Rahivka, Ukraine April 5, 2020. (credit: YAROSLAV YEMELIANENKO/REUTERS)

France is in contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as it seeks to assess the situation at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

"We are trying to clarify these reports together with the International Atomic Energy Agency," said Attal, who added that France was asking Russia to co-operate.

Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant because it cannot cool down spent nuclear fuel after its power connection was severed, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom said on Wednesday.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the situation at Chernobyl is under control by both Russian troops and Ukrainian specialists and National Guard.

"The actions of the Russian military in this dangerous situation were motivated by the necessity to prevent a nuclear provocation from Ukrainian nationalists, who seem to have nothing to lose. As a matter of fact, they have been trained to do it. That is why Russian troops are taking Ukraine’s nuclear facilities under control," Zakharova said, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

Russia's defense ministry accused Ukrainian forces of attacking power lines and a substation feeding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what it said was a "dangerous provocation," the Russian news agency Interfax reported.