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IMMINENT WARNING REPORT: Russian rockets hit Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Date: August 5, 2022

Elvire Vérant, Matthew Bauer, Peter Roberto, Pètra van de Gevel, Martyna Dobrowolska, EUCOM Team

Claudia Santillan-Vazquez, Editor; Hannah Norton, Senior Editor



The southeastern city of Enerhodar, Ukraine[1]



Event: On August 5, 2022, Ukrainian officials stated that Russian rockets hit nitrogen-oxygen units and high-power electric lines at the Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar.[2] Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, attacks on the plant have been reported by both Russian and Ukrainian sides. This has resulted in an interruption of the supply chain of equipment and spare parts to the plant. The plant is controlled by Russia with Ukrainian staff running the plant.[3]


Significance: Russian rocket strikes will almost certainly increase the risk of fires at the nuclear site, likely damaging safety systems and increasing the risk of a nuclear accident. The Russian attack will very likely result in friction between the Ukrainian plant staff and Russian forces, likely reducing communication and cooperation between these groups on maintaining plant operations. Operational safeguards performed by nuclear plant staff like systems checks, safety assessments, and electricity and water pressure control will likely decrease in frequency as a result. The lack of equipment and spare parts will likely decrease the ability of staff to maintain the safety of essential nuclear plant systems such as waste containment vessels and plant cooling systems. Malfunctions of these nuclear plant components will very likely lead to nuclear waste leaks and overheating of the nuclear core, very likely resulting in a core meltdown. The nuclear waste or radiation will likely be released in the areas surrounding Zaporizhzhia, including the Dnipro River, likely exposing Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, plant staff, and Ukrainian civilians to radiation. This will likely increase radiation sickness and death among those in the area surrounding Zaporizhzhia and along the Dnipro River, likely making these areas inhabitable until nuclear waste has dissipated.


Recommendations

  • It is recommended that Ukraine and Russia partake in UN-mediated negotiations to open a corridor for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials to reach the nuclear plant. IAEA officials should monitor the site, conduct inspections, and ensure plant safety measures are in place to reduce the possibility of a nuclear meltdown.

  • It is recommended that law enforcement in Ukraine raise people’s awareness through social media and radio broadcast announcements about a possible nuclear hazard and explain exposure mitigation measures, such as evacuation maps or instructions on how to stay safe at home.

  • It is recommended that the IAEA, with the help of the UN nations, send equipment and spare parts needed to maintain the function of essential systems like waste containment vessels, cooling systems, and radiation monitoring equipment to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to avoid a nuclear accident.

  • It is recommended that the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre continue to monitor the situation near the nuclear plant and report to the adequate authorities, such as IAEA, any new escalation.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] ‘’Enerhodar’’ by Google Maps

[2] Zaporizhzhia: Russian rockets damaged part of nuclear plant, Ukraine says, BBC, August 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62432873

[3] UN nuclear chief: Ukraine nuclear plant is ‘out of control’, AP News, August 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-science-accidents-d2e0077af104f2692b76f737c58e1984

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