One day after the Russian army launched its attack on Ukraine, Ukrainian officials confirmed that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, located north of Kiev, has been occupied by the Russian army. Although there are no reports of damage to the power plant equipment, it has aroused the concern of nuclear energy experts from various countries. Re-emergence of fighting on the ground may damage part of the nuclear waste cooling pool, leading to the leakage of radioactive contamination.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant started operation in 1977. In 1986, an explosion and leakage incident that shocked the world occurred. The damaged Unit 4 was sealed with a large amount of cement grouting after the incident. However, due to the power vacancy, the remaining The 3 units were still in operation until 2000 before they were all shut down.
In 2017, the Ukrainian government spent 170 million US dollars on the grouting Unit 4, and built another layer of stainless steel building to strengthen the storage strength, ensuring that the 200 metric tons of radioactive materials sealed in Unit 4 at the time of the incident would no longer flow out.
According to statistics, the leakage of pollution caused by the explosion accident in 1986 directly caused 56 deaths, and subsequently affected tens of thousands of people, including cancer and other radiation-related symptoms.
Including the International Energy Association and Ukrainian nuclear energy experts said that before the power plant was completely closed in 2000, there were still many waste fuel rods temporarily stored in the cooling pool near the power plant. The fuel rods in these cooling pools were taken out several years later, and the radioactivity was far higher than that in Unit 4.
Although nuclear energy experts from various countries generally believe that the Russian army has no special motivation to damage the equipment of the Chernobyl power plant, although the power plant was occupied, it was not damaged, indicating that the situation is still under control.
However, if the Ukrainian army counterattacks and fights again near the power plant, any explosion may damage the nuclear waste in the cooling pool, causing the leakage of radioactive pollution, and the spread area will affect the entire European continent, so it should not be taken lightly.
Therefore, many nuclear energy experts have condemned the Russian military’s attack on the nuclear power plant.