Nuclear alarm bells at Zaporizhzhia


Beyond Nuclear is in Common Dreams today with an article about the high risks at Zaporizhzhia. Here is an excerpt:

What are the odds of [a missile strike leading to a meltdown] happening at Zaporizhzhia? Assessments vary. Some experts allege that the reactor containment buildings are robust enough to withstand shelling or even bunker-busting missile strikes.

But the fuel pools, with even larger inventories of both thermally and radioactively hot waste, are not housed within the protective containment buildings.

Nor are the closely congregated dry casks that hold the still extremely hot nuclear waste already offloaded from the fuel pools. The building housing these latter was apparently already struck, according to the IAEA report.

But even without a direct hit from an attack on the Zaporizhzhia site, the weakest link in this inherently dangerous technology is the potential for failure of the offsite electrical grid, followed by the failure of on-site backup power— usually supplied by diesel generators that sometimes don’t work and can’t run indefinitely.

These factors alone could lead to loss of control of one or more of the reactors and a catastrophic meltdown.

However, it doesn’t really matter if the odds of this happening are 99% or 1%, as the consequences of a disaster would be the same. It’s simply too big of a gamble. That’s why the disconnect between Grossi’s dire warnings, and his agency’s continued promotion of nuclear power is so strikingly disingenuous.

Read the full article

Headline photo shows Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, shows the international press and media during his press briefing as he points on a map on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. IAEA Vienna, Austria. 4 March 2022. Photo: IAEA imagebank

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