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Zaporizhzhia plant does not need Russian fuel: Ukraine nuclear chief

Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the facility, raising fears of a mishap that could release radioactive material
Last Updated : 13 October 2022, 09:50 IST
Last Updated : 13 October 2022, 09:50 IST

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The head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy company on Thursday decried as "fake news" Russian assertions that the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will need Russian fuel.

Energoatom chief Petro Kotin, speaking in a Reuters interview, said there are fresh fuel supplies in storage at the six-reactor plant, the largest in Europe.

His comments came after an official of Rosenergoatom, Russia's nuclear power operator, was quoted by Russia's TASS state news agency as saying that the Zaporizhzhia plant would be switched to Russian fuel once its reserves are exhausted.

"There are a lot of rumours and fake statements from Russians, said Kotin. "All of them are fakes. And actually it's not easy to just transfer the fuel loading in Zaporizhzhia from one supplier to another."

"Just to prepare for this transfer from one supplier to another you need about three years. So they (Russia) call tell this fake news," said Kotin.

Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the facility, raising fears of a mishap that could release radioactive material.

Kotin said his biggest fear was a cutoff of external power needed for cooling the reactors, all of which are in cold shutdown, and a loss of emergency diesel generators that have only 10 days of supplies of fuel, threatening a meltdown.

"It is just an unprecedented situation for the...biggest nuclear power plant in Europe," Kotin said in the interview in his office, where a large photograph of the plant sitting before a swath of yellow flowers hangs behind his desk.

The plant is located in southern Zaporizhzhia province, much of which is held by Moscow's forces and which was proclaimed part of Russia by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, along with three other partly occupied regions.

Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in March, the month after they launched their full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Published 13 October 2022, 09:50 IST

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