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Russian occupiers torture diver to death at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant; Ukraine warns of nuclear provocation

Zaporizhzhia npp
Russian occupiers torture diver to death at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant; Ukraine warns of nuclear provocation
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

On July 3, a diver from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant hydroelectric shop was reported to die after being tortured by the Russian occupiers. This comes as Ukrainian officials warn about a planned Russian provocation at the occupied plant that would create a major nuclear hazard.

Diver tortured

The mayor of Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Dmytro Orlov reported that Andrii Honcharuk, an employee of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, was required to dive into a splashing pool by the Russian invaders, refused to follow the orders and was severely beaten on June 29.

Honcharuk suffered numerous injuries and was taken to the Enerhodar hospital in a state of coma where he died on July 3 without regaining consciousness, Orlov said.

Zaporizhzhia npp

As per Orlov, the self-proclaimed “Russian management” is working on “a serious provocation at the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP,” planning to accuse Ukrainian staff of storing weapons on the territory of the station.

Several employees were detained and tortured to force a confession about installing explosives or projectiles in the concrete bowls of the cooling pools in March.

The occupiers insist on draining the cooling pools to conduct the check of the bowls and stopping the operation of the pumps supplying water to the safety systems of the power units. Such a procedure would leave units of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant without cooling and create a major threat to nuclear safety.

According to Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, in an interview with Aljazeera,

“[…] if the spent fuel pond, which is where they put the used fuel, was hit – it could easily be a multiple of the effect of Chornobyl.

A Chornobyl engineer, in an interview to Byline Times, explained that,

“‘insufficient cooling of the water circulating in the ponds… can lead to water evaporation. If the water heats up from the residual heat, it will begin to evaporate from the fuel assemblies.’ It’s this heating up and evaporation that can lead to the spread of radiation.

Previously, Orlov reported that the Russian occupiers kept over 12 Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant workers in the plant’s basements.

The world leaders on Zaporizhzhia hostilities

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was seized by the Russian invaders on 4 March 2022. Hostilities were carried out next to the working nuclear reactors. A fire ensued and the station workers were taken hostage.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and US President Joe Biden spoke to President Zelenskyy on the phone the night of the attack. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attacks on Zaporizhzhia “horrific” and demanded they “must cease immediately.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the attack could “directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.”

President Zelenskyy said:

The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror…If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe. This is the evacuation of Europe. Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops.”

Enerhoatom: “Nuclear and radiation safety under threat”

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is now being controlled by the Russian army and Rosatom employees. 500 Russian soldiers, heavy equipment, tanks, and explosives are stationed at the territory of the nuclear power plant. On March 14, the Russian military blew up part of the munition near the training center previously shelled and power unit.

As reported by Enerhoatom on July 4, all six power units of Zaporizhzhia NPP and the city of Enerhodar are under Russian occupation, but all power units of the plant are serviced by Ukrainian personnel and continue to work for Ukraine. “As long as the Russian occupation continues, nuclear and radiation safety is under threat. The rotation of employees is taking place but the occupiers not only continue to approve all technical decisions of the personnel but also increased the pressure, checks, open repressions, and show trials against employees with an open pro-Ukrainian position,” said the agency.

Enerhoatom management repeatedly said that they cannot guarantee safety in such work conditions. The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is a threat to nuclear safety. The actions of the Russian Federation at Zaporizhzhia should be considered terrorist attacks on nuclear-operating facilities.

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