There’s a cloak-and-dagger struggle on for control of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, pitting activist nuclear professionals against alleged Russian agents. I began tracking this opaque battle early in Russia’s invasion when Ukraine’s state security bureau detained the nuclear power utility’s director of personnel. That cast a dark cloud over officials he’d appointed at Energoatom’s headquarters and at the four nuclear power plants that supply over half of Ukraine’s electricity.
Now this spy-vs-spy battle for Ukraine’s nuclear power has leapt from the shadows.
Last month Ukrainian counterintelligence pierced an “extensive agent network” led by the suspect official’s longtime patron: U.S.-sanctioned Russian spy Andriy Derkach, who gained global notoriety passing kompromat on Biden to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in 2019. Then utility CEO Petro Kotin fanned the flames this month in a disastrous appearance before a parliamentary panel. Kotin did not win deputies’ confidence when, for example, he explained that his deputy failed to show for the hearing because he had the day off.
The spectacle prompted Kyiv-based media outlet Glavcom to report that Ukraine’s “Nuclear energy is in danger,” and that a “search for collaborators” was on.
Fears of infiltration add to the instability created by Russia’s unprecedented military assaults on Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. And both threats raise the spectre of accidents that could spread radiation across Europe, and undercutting Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. If the power grid collapses, the country will be in chaos.
Read the full story @IEEE Spectrum