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a Chernobyl employee talks about the Russian occupation and the negotiations to save the nuclear power plant

Article written by

Camille Magnard and Laurent Macchietti, edited by Thomas Destelle – france info

French radio

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Despite the Russian occupation, employees ensured the safety of the nuclear power plant. franceinfo met an engineer from Chernobyl when he was finally able to leave the liberated factory.

What happened at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine when it was occupied by the Russian army for 35 days? At the time, Ukraine feared that the Russians would cause a nuclear disaster with tragic consequences for all of Europe. In the end it didn’t happen. Largely thanks to the Chernobyl employees who ensured the safety of the factory despite the Russian occupation.

>> Follow the latest information about the war in Ukraine in our live

“On February 23 at 8:45 pm I took my mail before noon as usual and I did not leave it for 45 days”, says Valery Semyonov. This engineer in charge of security in Chernobyl was imprisoned in the factory from the beginning of the Russian invasion. †On February 24 around 5 pm I saw clouds of smoke on my surveillance camerasexplains the engineer. There were two troopships, trucks and a tank from which Russian soldiers got out.”

The fighting will be very short because both the Ukrainians and the Russians are aware of the colossal risk if a grenade were to fall on the factory. So they will work together, even if the war Chernobyl robs the vital electricity for its cooling and the diesel for emergency generators runs out.

“So we said to the Russians, ‘You’re keeping us busy, so it’s up to you to solve this problem!'”

Valeriy Semionov, engineer in charge of Chernobyl security

at franceinfo

“They brought four tank trucks of diesel on the first day”says the engineer. Except we told them we needed 27 tons a day. So after the fourth day without power, they gave us an ultimatum. Either we agreed to connect the plant to the Belarusian electricity grid, or they stopped deliveries. We had to accept.”

Valeriy says he is convinced that the diesel supplied by the Russians is the diesel that did not invade Kiev through their tanks and that Chernobyl indirectly saved the Ukrainian capital.

War in Ukraine: The Testimony of a Chernobyl Associate, Collected by Camille Magnard and Laurent Macchietti


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