Parts of Ukraine’s nuclear plant ‘seriously damaged’ in military strikes, one reactor forced to shut down

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine sustained “serious damage” as a result of military operations that resulted in the forced shutdown of one of its reactors. Energoatom said on the messaging app Telegram that the strikes on Friday at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in south Ukraine—the largest of Europe’s atomic power complex—”seriously damaged” a station housing nitrogen and oxygen as well as an “auxiliary building.” Moscow and Kyiv each laid blame for the assault on the other.

One of the reactors was forced to shut down due to the hits, a power line was broken, and “there are still concerns of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances, and the risk of fire is still considerable,” according to the statement. The shelling “has caused a serious risk for the safe operation of the plant.”

Since the beginning of their incursion, Russian forces have been occupying the Zaporizhzhia factory, and Kyiv has accused them of keeping heavy weaponry there. Moscow, meanwhile, has charged Ukrainian soldiers with attacking the plant. On Saturday, the European Union criticised Russia for the bombardment.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, must have access to the plant, urged Josep Borrell, the senior ambassador for the EU. For weeks, the IAEA has been attempting to deploy a team to inspect the plant. As of yet, Ukraine has rejected the initiatives since, in its opinion, they would give Russia’s possession of the area legitimacy in the eyes of the international world. It said that while Ukrainian staff had stayed on and the plant was still producing energy, Rosatom employees had fled the facility just before the assaults.

(with inputs from agencies)

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