The Ukrainian atomic agency affirms that Ihor Murashov, head of the plant’s radiological safety, was intercepted on his way to the facilities and is “whereabouts unknown”.
The Russian security forces have arrested the general director of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov, for reasons that have not been clarified, as reported this morning by Petro Kotin, president of Energoatom, the Ukrainian state company that operates the atomic plants of the country. The arrest took place around four in the afternoon on Friday and, since then, Murashov remains unaccounted for. His capture took place just an hour after President Valdimir Putin signed Russia’s annexation of Zaporizhia and the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions.
The person in charge of the facilities, occupied for months by the Russian Army and that kyiv is trying to recover at all costs, was intercepted by a patrol when he was heading to the city of Energodar, headquarters of the plant. “They stopped his car, held him by force, blindfolded him and took him in an unknown direction,” Kotin told Reuters. The agency has tried to find out where he is being held, but so far all his efforts have been null and void. Energoatom highlights that Murashov is the head of nuclear and radiological safety at the plant. “His arrest of him poses a danger to the operation of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” Kotin warned.
The director has demanded that the Russian authorities in Zaporizhia release the director and authorize him to return to his post “as soon as possible.” The Ukrainian government considers this arrest to be an “act of nuclear terrorism”. The president of Energoatom has also approached Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Tom Mitchell, president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, to intervene in the case. The IAEA maintains a technical team inside the plant to supervise its safety, as a result of the visit that this organization made more than a month ago to learn about the state of the facilities.
Since it was taken over by the Russian Army, the fighting in the surroundings has been frequent and some of them have affected the operation of the plant, although without harming critical systems. Both Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of these attacks, which consist essentially of artillery bombardments, which led the IAEA and the United Nations to demand weeks ago that their respective governments cease their attitude in the face of the obvious risk of a nuclear accident. of “very serious consequences”.
Precisely, the IAEA reported this Friday the explosion of a land mine, which has caused damage to one of the power cables of the plant. Sources close to the case have specified that the detonation occurred near a nitrogen and oxygen store that was not affected. In that case, the disaster could have been important. In fact, Grossi has expressed his “deep concern” about the repetition of this type of explosion. The organization has requested on more than one occasion, without any result, the demining of the land surrounding the plant, whose soil is strewn with this type of device as a result of the fighting between Russians and Ukrainians.