The possibility of a serious accident following the power outage at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine is extremely remote, according to the Risk Assessment Professor at the European University George Boustras.

On Wednesday, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia must urgently observe a temporary ceasefire to allow repairs on a power line to the plant, warning radiation could be leaked if an electricity outage continues.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday, Boustras said that, if properly maintained, a power outage at a nuclear plant does not pose any particular risks. However, he also acknowledged that studies carried out on safety issues at nuclear power plants in recent years do not take into account a war scenario.

He also highlighted the need to be particularly careful when verifying that information relating to Chernobyl is accurate.

“During a war, the information is usually instrumentalised and twisted, which means it is not always accurate,” Boustras said.

“What is sure is that all countries, including Cyprus, have sufficient instruments to measure the levels of radiation in the atmosphere, as do international organisations.

“In the event of an accident, neighbouring countries would immediately register a change in those levels, which is not the case for the time being.

“In case there is an attack on the nuclear power plant, which I would consider an absolute barbarity and I hope we don’t experience it, we will certainly have to monitor the direction of the winds from Ukraine,” he said.

Boustras added that, although Cyprus is geographically far from Ukraine, the fumes following the explosion of the reactor core at the plant in 1986 arrived as far as Spain and the Atlantic Ocean.

“However, we should not panic just yet, but remain alert and learn lessons on what to avoid when nuclear power plants are involved.

“In general, nowadays, such plants are built to the highest standards and are extremely unlikely to suffer major accidents.”

Asked to comment on the US and UK decisions to limit the supply of Russian gas and oil following the invasion and whether there is a risk of fuel shortages in the market, Boustras said that decisions in a war situation are also about the impact they have on the countries that take them.

“That does not mean that all the consequences on individual countries are carefully pondered and examined. Sanctions such as the one banning Russian gas in Europe are issued regardless of their impact on the people’s pockets.

“For Cyprus, it looks like there will be a short term, maybe a medium-term problem, as the market here is dependent on Russia.

“That said, we should start considering alternatives to our energy supplies from Russia. The EU has already started designing a scenario in which Russia is missing and we should begin looking at alternative forms of energy to power our country,” Boustras concluded.