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Power line repairs begin at Chernobyl

Russia Ukraine War Nuclear Fear
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 11, 2022

BERLIN — Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday that technicians have started repairing damaged power lines at the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant in an effort to restore power supplies, the U.N. nuclear agency said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian authorities said that Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, was knocked off the power grid, with emergency generators supplying backup power.

The Ukrainian nuclear regulator said Friday that workers repaired one section of the lines, but there still appears to be damage in other places, the IAEA said. Repair efforts would continue despite “the difficult situation” outside the plant, which was taken by Russian forces early in the invasion, it said.

The Ukrainian regulator said additional fuel was delivered for generators, but it remains important to fix the power lines as soon as possible. The IAEA reiterated that the disconnection “will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site.”

The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog said that it still isn’t receiving data from monitoring systems installed to monitor nuclear material and activities at Chernobyl, but transmission from the Zaporizhzhia plant — Ukraine’s biggest, which Russian forces seized last week — has been restored after being lost earlier this week.

On Friday, Ukraine claimed Russia would attempt to stage an attack on Chernobyl and blame Ukraine.

"Putin is ready to commit to the nuclear blackmail of the world community for the sake of actions to support Ukraine," the Ministry of Defense said on Facebook, according to a translation of the post.

Earlier this week, the IAEA downplayed fears that either side would intentionally target nuclear reactors.