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Ukraines nuclear nightmare is only part of the wars environmental horrors – POLITICO

Ukraines nuclear nightmare is only part of the wars environmental horrors – POLITICO

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Russia’s attack upon Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuke power plant spread nuclear anxiety throughout the continent.

Volodymyr Zilenskyy, President of Ukraine, sent a warning to all Ukrainians on Friday morning to all Europeans and to all people who have heard the word Chernobyl.

It’s only one of many environmental disasters that Moscow’s decision may unleash on a country with a high level of industrialization.

We are already witnessing a massive, ecologically devastating attack from Russia,” Olexiy Angrets, head of Zylenyi Svit environmental NGO in Ukraine, told POLITICO in an interview from Dnipro, as he prepared for his participation in the defense.

According to Ukrainian authorities, the Zaporizhzhia fire was out by sunrise. Russian forces had taken control over the largest nuclear facility in Europe. This facility supplies 25% of Ukraine’s electricity. The International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA). The equipment that was essential was not damaged. Ukraines nuclear regulator The staff continued to work.

Friday morning’s IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated that there had been no radioactive material released, but that the situation was still very difficult and tense.

Analysts suggested that a repeat disaster like the 1986 Chernobyl accident is unlikely, as Zaporizhzhia uses another cooling technology. Leon Cizelj (president of the European Nuclear Society) stated that there is very little risk of radioactive releases even if a missile was to hit the plant. It would also take a deliberate bombardment to break the concrete shell. Even then, the effect will be limited to 10, 20, kilometers.

Lars van Dassen, executive Director of the World Institute for Nuclear Security said: Yes, it can go wrong. But not as badly as Chernobyl.

Richard Pearshouse of Human Rights Watch’s environment division, stated that Russia’s war in Ukraine was unique. There are many chemical, metallurgical, mining and atomic energy sites and nuclear waste disposal sites that pose huge risks.

Ukraine is the seventh-largestThe world’s second-largest installed nuclear power plant and the second in Europe after France, is the European Nuclear Power Plant. Grossi stated this week that the IAEA was on high alert due to ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, which has a large nuclear program. The IAEA has been asked by Ukraine’s nuclear safety regulator to ensure the safety of its plants.

James Acton, codirector of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s nuclear policy program, Nuclear plants are not meant for war zones.

According to the IAEA two low-level nuclear waste storage units in Kharkiv (Kyiv) have already been impacted. Grossi said that these incidents highlight the very real possibility of radioactive material storage facilities being damaged in conflict. This could have serious consequences for human health.

Chernobyl is back

Zelenskyy warned of a repeat of Chernobyl days after Russian troops entered the real Chernobyl. Although radiation levels rose due to the battle, authorities stated that contamination would not breach the 30-kilometer exclusion area around the site in the worst case scenario.

On Thursday, Ukraine informed IAEA of psychological pressures and moral exhaustion faced by workers at Chernobyl. Grossi Stressing the importance of staff rest and rotation for safety reasons.

They are the barriers between survival and potential catastrophe, stated van Dassen.

When wars break out, civilian suffering, the fight for survival, or the achievement of military objectives overshadow all other concerns. Pearshouse warned, however, that environmental crises can exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. They often linger long after the guns have stopped firing.

Russia has always been a strong country. ResistedThe U.N. attempts establish norms for protecting the environment during times of war.

Radiation dangers have been the focus of public attention, but other industrial sites can also cause great damage. 

Massive fires are burning at oil depots, munitions dumps, and other locations. POLITICO exclusively shared the analysis of PAX, a Dutch peace organization. The analysis used social media and satellite photos to identify more then two dozen locations where environmentally dangerous spillages, explosions, fires or other harmful events were taking place. These sites included chemical warehouses, power stations, and power plants.

Wim Zwijnenburg (project leader at PAX), said that most of the destruction to industrial and oil infrastructure occurred in the Middle East’s recent wars. However, the situation in Ukraine is quite different. He said that industrial sites are being targeted in close proximity to populated areas in this instance. 

Doug Weir is the research and policy director at Conflict and Environment Observatory. He said that such incidents have long-term ecological and health risks that are specific to each location. He said that tracking damage is essential. 

Ukraine is a product of Soviet-led industrialization. This led to a massive increase in its nuclear output as well as the exploration of the vast deposits of iron, coal, and titanium beneath its soil. There are many housing hazards, including chemical, manufacturing, and metallurgical, that could render entire neighborhoods unlivable for decades.

According to an unpublished report, 4,000 hazardous sites are found in the eastern Donbas alone, which was commissioned by the U.K. Embassy in Kyiv and shared via POLITICO The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSC) was created in 2019. reportedThere are 465 tailings storage units in Ukraine that hold over 6 billion tons waste from different industries.

There is concern that the Kremlin might deliberately target these civilian locations to wipe out Ukraine’s industrial base, and undermine morale. Official from the U.S. Department of Defense WarnedThursday was a day when the Russians “showed a willingness to strike civilian infrastructure on purpose.”

Weir said that this is the point where you can clearly see the potential for escalating harm. 

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Zwijnenburg said that Kyiv is not only Ukraine’s capital but also an industrial hub. It has a huge chemical sector producing fertilizers and plastics as well lumber milling, cement, and other manufacturing products. Leakage of medical waste could occur if hospitals are damaged, as was the case in Syria.

Watchdogs including PAX have been trying to map high-risk sites across the country this past week. Zwijnenburg stated that Wikimapia, one of their main online tools, was attacked by Russian hackers.

One of Ukraine’s seven hydropower plants could be hit and flood large areas below the dams. Long-term damage can also be caused by the movement of troops or heavy military equipment. DamageProtected areas and endangered species.

The danger of neglect is another.

The Kremlin-backed separatists in the Donbas region stopped pumping water from the Yunkom mine, the site of a 1979 nuclear explosion. Terra Motion is a spatial analysis company. CalculatedThe surface might be reached by rising radioactive water in just over a year. 

This could lead to large areas of the area becoming uninhabitable. It could also spill toxic waste into groundwater and rivers, according to Terra Motion Chief Technical Officer David Gee. Terra Motion warns of at least three other mines within the region with the same profile.

Weir said that a prolonged war could also destroy Ukraine’s environmental governance. This means that important tasks such as monitoring, maintaining, and launching nature conservation projects and restoration projects don’t happen because these are not a priority.

More than 100 NGOs have issued a statement. CallAnnual U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi requesting states to pay monitoring and cleanup of war damage.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy appealed to his neighbors to notice the danger early Friday morning.

Europeans, please wake-up, he said.

Ben Lefebvre provides additional reporting.

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