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Ukraine nuclear chief warns of 'very high' risk of occupied power plant

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Pavel Polityuk and Sergiy Karazy

KIEV — Head of Ukrainian state nuclear company warns Tuesday of 'very high' risk of shelling of Zaporizhia nuclear power plant did. He said it was important for Kyiv to regain control of facilities in the Russian-occupied south in time for the winter.

Energoatom chief Petro Kotin told Reuters in an interview. said last week's Russian shelling damaged three lines connecting the Zaporizhia power plant to the Ukrainian grid and Russia wants to connect the facility to that grid.

Ukraine and Russia have recently accused each other of shelling the site of Europe's largest gigantic nuclear power plant in Russian-controlled territory.

Some of the shelling landed near a spent fuel storage facility, an area where he said 174 containers of highly radioactive material were at risk of being attacked, Cotin said. warned about sex.

"This is... the most radioactive material in all of the nuclear power plants. This means the distribution around this place will be like a radioactive cloud and the weather will determine... clouds will decide which way to go,'' he said.

Mr Kotin said Russia hopes to connect the power plants to the grid, but this is a technically difficult process and it is expected that the In addition, the facility should be disconnected from the Ukrainian system.

"Their plan is to damage all lines from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, after which they will not be connected to the Ukrainian power system," he said. I was.

The nuclear power plant had six reactors, and before the war he produced 20-21% of Ukraine's electricity demand, he said. He added that renovations needed to be done urgently.

.".".So we need to urgently get these Russians out of there and refurbish the infrastructure for the winter season," he said.

About 500 Russian troops are currently stationed at the facility in heavy vehicles, and the factory is being used as a base, he said.

Kotin said the best solution would be for Russian troops to withdraw and the factories to return to Ukrainian control. Peacekeepers may be sent to protect the facility, he said.

"The ultimate solution is to remove the soldiers and all their weapons from the scene. This will completely solve the security problem at the Zaporizhia Power Plant," he said. rice field.

But he warned that the safety of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would not be guaranteed if he were to go to the site where it was occupied in March.

Such a trip would be best done with the United Nations, he said. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Sergiy Karazy; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Potter)