Earlier today, Russian defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed that Ukraine was planning a “false flag provocation” at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for August 19. Ukraine has denied the allegations but the news has fuelled speculations that something could happen at the plant on Friday.
The head of Russia’s radiological protection forces Lt Gen Igor Kirllov presented a slide today which showed that in the event of a nuclear disaster, Germany, Poland and Slovakia would be heavily affected by the radiological fallout.
However, Olga Kosharna, an expert in nuclear energy and nuclear safety who previously worked at the State Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Ukraine, told Express.co.uk the radiation could reach several other surrounding countries depending on which way the wind is blowing during a “severe” accident.
She said: “In this scenario, [south blowing winds], the radioactive plume, [could] travel to Bulgaria, Romania, and the black sea region – in 23 hours it will reach Turkey.”
She added: “If it is an eastern wind, the plume will go to Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic.”
She said it was possible the fallout could hit the occupied Crimean peninsula or even regions of Russia.
Zaporizhzhia is Europe’s largest nuclear plant and a nuclear disaster there could cause a catastrophe many times larger than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
The news comes following a visit by the Turkish President to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv where he met with Ukrainian President Zelensky and UN Secretary General António Guterres.
At a press conference following the meeting Mr Guterres urged both sides to withdraw military equipment and soldiers from the plant.
READ MORE: Putin facing annihilation as ‘veneer’ of Russian safety ruined
It added that disconnecting the complex’s generators from Ukraine’s power system would prevent them from being used to keep the nuclear fuel cool during a power outage.
Shutting down a nuclear reactor is a complex process even at the best of times.
It requires stopping nuclear chain reactions while keeping the fuel from heating up and causing a nuclear meltdown.
Mark Hibbs, senior fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said: “Should Russia take actions to force (the plant) off the Ukraine power system, that could threaten the operational safety of the station, in addition to escalating Ukraine’s energy crisis into the winter.”