A detailed plan has been drawn up by Russia to disconnect Europe’s largest nuclear plant from Ukraine’s power grid, risking a catastrophic failure of its cooling systems, the Guardian has been told.
World leaders have called for the Zaporizhzhia site to be demilitarised after footage emerged of Russian army vehicles inside the plant, and have previously warned Russia against cutting it off from the Ukrainian grid and connecting it up to the Russian power network.
But Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company, told the Guardian in an interview that Russian engineers had already drawn up a blueprint for a switch on the grounds of emergency planning should fighting sever remaining power connections.
“They presented [the plan] to [workers at] the plant, and the plant [workers] presented it to us. The precondition for this plan was heavy damage of all lines which connect Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Ukrainian system,” Kotin said in an interview on Ukraine’s independence day on Wednesday, with the country mostly locked down because of the threat of Russian attacks.
He fears that Russia’s military is now targeting those connections to make the emergency scenario a reality. Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the site. [Continue reading…]