Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia hit by new bombardments, the UN warns of “grave hour” for nuclear security


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The threat to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continues to grow, as it was hit at least five times on Thursday in a series of missile strikes.

It remains unclear who was responsible for the strikes and Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday evening that it was a “grave hour” no only for the security of Ukraine but also for that of Europe.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi reacts during an interview with The Associated Press, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Grossi,
(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

ZELENSKYY ACCUSES RUSSIA OF ‘NUCLEAR TERRORISM’ AS TROOPS SHOOT AT ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

Officials warned that as the largest nuclear power plant on the European continent and among the largest in the world, the consequences of damage to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could be “catastrophic”.

“Any military action that jeopardizes nuclear safety, nuclear security, must cease immediately,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “These military actions in the vicinity of such an important nuclear facility could have very serious consequences.”

Since the bombing began on August 5, explosions have reportedly damaged communications lines, radiation monitoring sensors, the nitrogen-oxygen station, hydrogen lines and other parts of the plant’s infrastructure.

Areas near where the plant’s radioactive materials are stored are also at risk, Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency Energoatom has warned, according to Reuters.

Grossi told the UN Security Council he did not believe there was an “immediate threat” to the nuclear safety of the plant, but warned that “that could change at any time”.

UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for the complete demilitarization of the nuclear site.

A Russian serviceman stands guard in the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Energodar on May 1, 2022.

A Russian serviceman stands guard in the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Energodar on May 1, 2022.
(Photo by ANDREY BORODULIN/AFP via Getty Images)

RUSSIAN OFFICIALS INSIST ‘ACCIDENTAL’ AIR BASE EXPLOSIONS, SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW NEARLY IDENTICAL CRATER

The plant has been under the control of Russian troops since March, but its operations continue to be monitored and carried out by Ukrainian officials.

The Russian delegation on Thursday accused Ukrainian forces of launching heavy artillery at the site during a shift change and underlined Kyiv’s refusal to sign a trilateral agreement with the IAEA.

Ukrainian officials said some 500 Russian troops have been stationed at the nuclear site as a sort of “nuclear shield” because Moscow knows Ukraine will be reluctant to launch an attack in the direction of the nuclear plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned at a defense meeting with world officials in Denmark on Thursday that the fallout from damage to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could be worse than Chernobyl.

Six power units generate 40-42 billion kWh of electricity, making the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant the largest nuclear power plant not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe, Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia region, southeastern L July 9, 2019. Ukrinform.

Six power units generate 40-42 billion kWh of electricity, making the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant the largest nuclear power plant not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe, Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia region, southeastern L July 9, 2019. Ukrinform.
(Photo credit should read Dmytro Smolyenko/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

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“Only the complete withdrawal of the Russians from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the restoration of Ukraine’s full control over the situation around the plant will guarantee the restoration of nuclear security for all of Europe,” Zelenskyy said in his evening speech.

“This is a global interest, not just a Ukrainian need,” he added.


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