– Nuclear engineer: “We stole fuel from the Russians to prevent a catastrophe”
What happened during the occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was once again under Ukrainian control? Factory employees tell the media about it.
Shortly after invading Ukraine on February 24, Russian forces occupied the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant. However, Ukrainian employees continued to take care of maintenance work at the plant, which was damaged in 1986. In an interview with the Russian language branch of the British BBC presenter An engineer revealed the details of the Russian occupation.
“We had to constantly negotiate with them and do our best not to offend them so that they let our employees manage the thing,” engineer Valery Simonov said in the interview published on Saturday.
It could have amounted to a “tragedy for mankind”.
During the occupation, power was also sometimes cut off. The Ukrainian expert said that at that time he secretly stole fuel from Russian soldiers to keep emergency generators running. “I wasn’t afraid for my life. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t take care of the facility.
Alexandre Lubada, the station’s radiation protection official, added in the interview: “If we had lost the electric current, it would have been catastrophic. Radioactive material would have been released.” Lubada feared that a “tragedy for humanity” would occur. Radioactive waste is still stored in Chernobyl today.
Worrying about losing colleagues – digging “into the red forest”
Employees of the former nuclear power plant worry about colleagues who are believed to have been kidnapped to Russia. The occupation held about 170 Ukrainian National Guardsmen who had secured the factory hostage in the shelter of the building. The Ukrainian leadership accuses Russia of forcibly bringing the manpower to Russia afterwards. The information could not be verified at first.
CNN also reported high levels of radiation in the so-called “Red Forest,” a radiation exclusion zone near the nuclear power plant. In the past few days, there have been several reports that Russian soldiers have dug trenches in the forest and are said to have irradiated themselves in the process. “We told them not to, it’s very dangerous – but they just ignored us,” said engineer Simonov in an interview with “The New York Times.”
Petro Poroshenko, the former Ukrainian president, visited Chernobyl on Friday bringing food and other supplies for the staff. The road to Chernobyl was possible only by a bumpy road. The bridge to Chernobyl was previously blown up to halt the Russian advance.
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