Ukrainian officials and international experts have warned for months that fighting poses a risk to a sprawling nuclear power plant on the banks of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. On Friday, explosions rang out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex, reigniting fears of a potential disaster.
Fighting broke out near the Ukrainian nuclear plant in the early days of the war, sparking fears of a nuclear incident. The Kremlin sent officials and technicians from Russia’s state nuclear agency to help manage the facility, which has been working alongside Ukrainian staff.
The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is “completely out of control,” according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Rafael Grossi said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the situation at the plant was “at serious risk of disaster.”
“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, calling Russia and Ukraine to allow experts to visit the site. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous.”
Other officials have been less alarmist, pointing out that recently built nuclear energy facilities are designed to withstand terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
The United Kingdom has said that the actions at the complex have undermined the safety of the plant’s operations.
The Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, Dmytro Orlov, has said that Russian forces have been using heavy weaponry near the plant. “They know very well that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will not respond to these attacks, as they can damage the nuclear power plant.”
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Strikes at Ukrainian nuclear plant ‘alarming’, says UN watchdog chief The Guardian
- Fears for nuclear safety after shelling at Ukrainian power plant CNN
- Russia rockets damaged part of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant says Ukraine – BBC News BBC News
- Latest Ukraine updates: Nuclear site ‘seriously damaged’ Al Jazeera English
- U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Alarmed by Shelling Near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Plant The Wall Street Journal