Russia has detained workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the facility for 12 days

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The situation at the nuclear power plant, which has been under the control of the Russian army for about two weeks, is mild and employees are said to continue their normal daily lives. However, according to sources interviewed by the BBC, the internal situation has become harsher and food and drug inventories have declined. The tensions experienced by workers who were unable to leave the facility raise concerns that they may not be able to safely fulfill their obligations in the nuclear field.

It was the biggest disaster scene in the world

An explosion at the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 resulted in the diffusion of 50 times more radiation into the environment than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. This event is counted as one of the largest environmental disasters in the world.

After the accident, the fourth reactor was shut down, but continued to operate for several years before the other reactors shut down. The nearby city of Slavutych was built from scratch to accommodate workers who worked in factories but were taken away from the Chernobyl area.

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Chernobyl is no longer functioning as an active nuclear power plant, but it never shut down completely and needs to be managed.

With 2,400 people working, the situation is very complete and tense

Currently, about 2,400 people work at this facility. These include scientists, technicians, cooks, emergency medical personnel and the National Guard of Ukraine.

Russian troops entered the 32-km exclusion zone of the Chernobyl power plant and surrounded the factory. Russia claims to manage the facility with the Ukrainian National Guard, but Ukrainian authorities have denied this.

Talking to the BBC, one relative of the factory workers said Russian soldiers theoretically allowed workers to switch shifts from the outside, but could not guarantee the safety of those traveling to the factory. rice field.

The train connecting Slavutych and Chernobyl passes through Belarus, Russia’s ally, for a short time, and travelers find it unsafe to cross it.

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“The situation is very complex and tense and very difficult for employee morale, psychology and physical health,” Slavutych Mayor Yuri Fomichev told the BBC.

There is no place to eat or sleep

Workers do not know when they can leave the facility, so they usually only eat a once-daily meal consisting of bread and oatmeal.

On the other hand, because there is no place to sleep in the facility, workers sleep on camp beds, tables, and sometimes on the floor.

“Some medicines are in use and the factory is running low on medicines,” says Fomichev.

“We must tell the workers’ families that there is still no way to safely remove them from the facility.”

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Is the situation dangerous?

Workers who have been forced to stay at the power plant for nearly two weeks are currently suffering from mental and physical difficulties and are concerned that they will not be able to perform their duties.

“The low concentration creates a safety issue. The plant may not be up and you need to make sure that all systems are functioning properly,” Fomichev said. Says.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), emphasizes that workers need to rest to perform their duties.

Nuclear experts, meanwhile, say the power plant isn’t in operation and doesn’t pose a major safety issue.

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James Smith, a professor of environmental science at the University of Plymouth, who has been working on Chernobyl for a long time, said it is very unlikely that radioactive material will be released from the plant again since the last reactor of the facility was closed in 2000. I am.

Fatigue and despair

Experts believe that the chances of a nuclear accident in Chernobyl are low. However, workers and their families who have been unable to leave the facility for days are facing great difficulty.

According to a family member who spoke to the BBC, factory workers are tired and helpless and think they can’t get out of it.

Rafael Grossi, director of the IAEA, said he had spoken to Russia and Ukraine about the situation of factory workers.

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Mr Grossi also said he had discussed security concerns with the two countries of Zaporizhia, Ukraine’s largest active nuclear power plant occupied by Russian troops.

Experts point out that possible conflicts at active nuclear facilities can be much more dangerous.

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