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Turkey offers to mediate in Ukraine nuclear plant standoff

Published On 3 Sep 2022

Turkeys President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has wanted to mediate in the standoff over a Russian-occupied nuclear power station in Ukraine stoking fears of an atomic disaster.

Saturdays offer came hours prior to the global atomic energy watchdog said Ukraines Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have been disconnected from its last remaining main power line to the grid and was now counting on a reserve line.

Amid growing alarm over shelling in your community of Europes largest nuclear plant in recent weeks, Ukraine said on Friday it had bombed a Russian base in the nearby town of Enerhodar, destroying three artillery systems and also an ammunition depot.

Erdogan on Saturday told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey can play a facilitator role in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, because they did in the grain deal, the Turkish presidency said.

Ukraine, among the worlds largest grain exporters, was forced to prevent virtually all deliveries after Russia invaded in late February, raising fears of a worldwide food crisis.

Exports of grain across Black Sea ports resumed after Kyiv and Moscow in July signed a deal, with the US and Turkey acting as guarantors.

There is no immediate reference to Erdogan having also spoken to Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday to provide his mediation.

Last month, Erdogan warned of the chance of a nuclear disaster when he visited Lviv for talks with the Ukrainian leader.

The Turkish leader said he wished to avoid another Chornobyl, discussing the worlds worst nuclear accident in another section of Ukraine in 1986, when it had been still portion of the Soviet Union.


Tenuous situation at plant

This week, a 14-strong team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Zaporizhzhia, with the UN nuclear watchdogs chief Rafael Grossi saying the website have been damaged in the fighting.

Ukraines Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) has once more lost the bond to its last remaining main external power line, however the facility is continuing to provide electricity to the grid by way of a reserve line, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed at the website today, the agency said in a statement on Saturday.

Al Jazeeras Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Kyiv, said the problem at the energy plant was very tenuous as of this hour.

The plant can be found right on leading line, and its own right near around the area where in fact the Ukrainian military is conducting a counteroffensive in the Kherson region, in southern Ukraine, Elizondo said.

Its vital that you understand that electricity and power is indeed critical to nuclear power plants since it needs to be kept cool for safety reasons. In case a nuclear power plant ever permanently loses, as well as temporarily loses all electricity, it might lead to an unbelievable nuclear disaster.

The Russian invasion of pro-Western Ukraine has killed a large number of people and caused millions to flee their homes.

Western powers have reacted by dispatching military aid to Kyiv in a bid to stem the Russian advance, and slapping economic sanctions on Moscow.

EU ready for Russian gas weapon

On Friday, the Band of Seven major industrial democracies pledged to go urgently to create a cost cap on Russian oil imports, an essential way to obtain revenue for Moscow.

Later, Russian gas giant Gazprom said it had halted gas deliveries to Germany for an indefinite period as there have been leaks in a turbine. Its German manufacturer said that has been not a justification to prevent gas flows.

EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni however said the EU was in better shape to take care of the chance of a complete halt in Russian gas deliveries, because of storage capacity and energy-saving measures.

We have been ready to resist Russias extreme usage of the gas weapon, he told reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum.

In the EU, gas storage happens to be at about 80 percent, because of the diversification of supplies even though the problem varies in one country to some other, Gentiloni said.

Ukraine has accused Russia of storing ammunition at Zaporizhzhia and deploying a huge selection of soldiers there.

In addition, it suspects Moscow is going to divert power from the plant to the nearby Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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