Greenpeace Australia Pacific statement on attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine


Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant under military attack

The following comments can be attributed to Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter.

“Greenpeace Australia Pacific is deeply alarmed by reports of Russian military forces engaging with Ukrainian security at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine during the night of 4th March. Greenpeace condemns in the strongest terms possible the deliberate attack of Russian military personnel on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station and the citizens of the nearby city of Enerhodar,” he said

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an illegal war on the people of Ukraine, and he is now risking a nuclear disaster. The only way to eliminate the risk of such a disaster is an immediate cease-fire at Zaporizhzhia, withdrawal of all Russian military forces to allow firefighters and the nuclear plant security to re-establish a security zone. This should be the last time we ever see the Russian military coming anywhere near Ukraine’s nuclear plants, and is another reason, amongst so many, why Putin has to stop his war immediately.”

The following comments can be attributed to Greenpeace Germany Nuclear Campaigner, Shaun Burnie.

“On 2 March a new analysis from Greenpeace International detailed the severe risks and consequences to the Zaporizhzhia reactors as a result of the war,” he said.

“There have been reports of a building on fire as a result of the battle. It is important in this highly confusing situation with such major implications for nuclear plant safety, but most especially for the people of Ukraine, that information is as accurate as possible.

“During the last two hours, Greenpeace nuclear specialists have analyzed the available reports and images from the fighting at Zaporizhzhia. Our preliminary assessment is the following:

  • The location of the building fire and apparent military engagement appears to be on Promyslova St. which is the main road from the city of Enerhodar. This is located outside the high-security area of the nuclear station.
  • The building that appears to be on fire was part of the Educational Training Center, which is located on Promyslova St. Which is approximately 300-350 meters from Zaporizhzhia reactor unit 1.
  • The military engagement took place approximately 200-300 meters from the Unit 1 reactor.
  • The armoured personnel carriers observed from the Zaporizhzhia webcam look to be Zaporizhzhia’s own security force – the 3042 Brigade from the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, which has such vehicles on site.

“On 2nd March Greenpeace International released a new analysis on the vulnerability of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors during war. The analysis focussed on the Zaporizhzhia reactors. The risks from an armed attack at any nuclear plant are almost beyond comprehension. But, Zaporizhzhia is Europe’s largest nuclear plant, with six reactors and perhaps more than 2200 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel.

“In the worst-case scenario, the reactor containment could be destroyed by explosions and the cooling system would fail, the radioactivity of both the reactor and the fuel pool could then freely escape into the atmosphere. This risks making the entire plant inaccessible because of the high radiation levels, which could then lead to a further cascade of the other reactors and fuel pools, each spreading large quantities of radioactivity into different wind directions over several weeks. It could make a large part of Europe, including Russia, uninhabitable for at least many decades and over a distance of hundreds of kilometres, a nightmare scenario and potentially far worse than the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011.

“Even without a deliberate armed attack on the nuclear plant, the operation of the reactors and cooling of the nuclear fuel and spent fuel is dependent upon stable electrical supply from the grid. Loss of power from the grid would require the operation of Zaporizhzhia’s emergency diesel generators which have limited fuel supply and are not considered reliable.”

/Public Release. View in full here.