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Red Alert at Zaporizhzhia? Scenarios That Wouldn’t Unfold at a Wind Farm

Linda Pentz Gunter

Each nuclear reactor contains a lethal radioactive inventory, in the reactor core and also in the fuel pools into which the irradiated fuel is offloaded and, over time, densely packed. Casks also house nuclear waste offloaded from the fuel pools.  Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe with at least 2,204 tons of highly radioactive waste... any or all of this radioactive fuel could be ignited.  Will the backup diesel generators, frequently turned to for powering the essential cooling each time the plant has lost connection to the electricity grid, last through each crisis, given their fuel must also be replenished, potentially not possible under war conditions?  If the uranium fuel in the Zaporizhzhia reactors or irradiated fuel storage pools overheats and ignites, it could then heat up the zirconium cladding around it, which would ignite and burn fiercely as a flare at temperatures too hot to extinguish with water.  Radioactive fallout could contaminate crucial agricultural land in Ukraine and potentially also in Russia... Calling for a no-fire zone around Zaporizhzhia is not enough. We must call for no nuclear power at all.