The president of Ukraine’s state nuclear company – Energoatom – told CNN that power units at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant remain in a state of cooling while work continues to restore power lines from the plant.
Speaking to CNN via Skype, Petro Kotin, said all seven lines connected to the plant were down and it went into what he calls “island mode” – where the plant only supplies electricity to the plant. it’s him.
He told CNN: “We’ve tried to extend the life of one of our power units as long as possible, even in island-mode conditions. It works for us. in three days”.
Kotin said only one of the six power units is still operating and is supplying the plant’s needs – the electricity needed for the pumps to cool the nuclear material. “The reactors are filled with nuclear material, fuel, and there are six storage tanks located near the reactors at each unit. They need to be cooled continuously,” he said.
“The danger is that without power, the pumps will stop working and not cool, and in about an hour and a half to two hours you will have this meltdown of this fuel in the reactor,” he said. say more.
Kotin reiterated that when there is no external power source, diesel generators can operate. “As of today, the diesel generators can operate there for ten days.”
“We are also doing our best to secure additional supplies. But we understand that it is very difficult to put anything in there. The railway is damaged so it can only be done by vehicle,” he said. .
“If we lose external power now, then we will only have one option. Diesel generators,” he added.
Kotin said representatives of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), remained at the plant. “They have meetings with the plant management twice a day, so they have all the current information on the operations of the plant,” he said.
As for the IAEA’s proposal for a safe zone around the plant, Kotin said: “We don’t quite understand exactly what this safe zone means.”
He reiterated the Ukrainian government’s line that the plant should be returned to Ukraine’s control and that the power plant itself and the area around it should be demilitarized.