Russia-Ukraine accuse of reciprocal strike near Nuclear Power Plants: What to know about

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Nuclear Power Plants

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the eyes of Ukraine 

According to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), Ukraine has 15 functional nuclear reactors, which together supply 51 percent of its electricity by 2020. Kyiv relies on nuclear power to avoid energy dependence on Russia. Zaporizhzhia is located in Enerhodar, a city in southeastern Ukraine that has six nuclear reactors. 

The Zaporizhzhia reactor began operating between 1984 and 1995. It can generate 5,700 megawatts of electricity at full capacity. The plant is Ukraine’s main source of nuclear power, producing one-fifth of Ukraine’s electricity and nearly half of its nuclear energy. Those are why when Russia took over this nuclear reactor, Ukraine was in danger of losing most of its people’s electrical energy supply. 

Quoting from the journal K. Lee Lerner, Scholar of Harvard University, history NPP’s Zaporizhzhia was originally designed by Russia’s AtomEnergoproekt, consisting of five pressurized water reactor (PWR) units, built and operated between 1984 and 1989. The 6th unit was commissioned in 1990. The first five units were built and put into service between 1984 and 1989. After a moratorium on construction following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the turmoil surrounding the fall of the Soviet Union, a sixth reactor was connected to the network of newly independent Ukraine in 1995. 

Why is Russia taking over the Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants 

Russia’s invasion of the NPP territory in Ukraine was not without reason. From a geographical point of view, the Chernobyl NPP, for example, is a strategic route for Belarus as an ally of Russia to Kyiv, Ukraine. The Chernobyl NPP area is one of the areas that Russia is directly targeting, where this region is very close to the Belarus border. Apart from being the fastest route connecting Belarus and Kyiv, the Chernobyl area can also be used by the Russian side to prepare troops before heading to Kyiv. 

From security-defense side, several Ukrainian sources consider areas such as Zaporizhzhia NPP to be Russian military bases. They said Russia was planning to disconnect power plants from the Ukrainian grid and eventually connect them to Russian systems. A shutdown could lead to the failure of its cooling systems and potentially lead to a nuclear catastrophe. However, according to the Russian side, the NPP operation is still running normally and safely. 

Russia considers the Ukrainian side and the US involvement have accused it and led to negative opinions/provocations to the public. In fact, it was the Ukrainian saboteurs who caused the fire in the Zaporizhzhia NPP area. Russia also rejected the demilitarization proposal which was considered to be even more dangerous for the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev said a visit to the plant by IAEA could take place in the near future and experts could determine for themselves who attacked the NPP. 

The sovereignty threat over the Russia-Ukraine conflict has existed since the seizure of the Crimean peninsula and is currently heating up because Ukraine wants to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Third parties such US and its ally’s interference require Russia to take preventive steps, cause its warnings have been ignored. 

The important territories seized in Ukraine such as the NPP considered could show its power and control over the nuclear or prevent the opposition from abusing the NPP. This concept is also related to the opposition’s frail deterrence and the strengthening of Russian deterrence. Yet, Russia didn’t intend to directly bomb the NPP, cause Russia was aware of the negative consequences for humanity and the environment and the extraordinary world reaction later.