Fire put out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, no radiation released
Fire has been extinguished at Europe's biggest nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine, which was ignited by a Russian attack. No radiation was released, U.N. and Ukrainian officials said. Ukraine’s state nuclear regulator earlier said that no changes in radiation levels have been recorded so far after the Zaporizhzhia plant came under attack. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi later said no radioactive material was released, but that two people were injured in the fire that broke out at the plant.
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael M Grossi also said that 6 nuclear reactors remain unaffected by the Russian shelling. Grossi confirmed Friday that the building hit was a training center and “not part of the reactor.” He said he did not know what hit them plant but called a “projectile” from Russian forces.
The shelling of the plant came as the Russian military advanced on a strategic city on the Dnieper River near where the facility is located and gained ground in their bid to cut the country off from the sea. That move would deal a severe blow to Ukraine’s economy and could worsen an already dire humanitarian situation.
The attack caused worldwide concern — and evoked memories of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, at Ukraine’s Chernobyl. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that this attack could be '6 times worse than Chernobyl'. "This night could have been the end of history for Ukraine and Europe, Russian tank operators knew what they were shooting at, they directly targeted the station." said Zelensky.
Initial reports conflicted over whether one or two fires broke out at the plant in the city of Enerhodar. Nuclear plant spokesman Andriy Tuz told Ukrainian television overnight that shells fell directly on the facility, and set fire to reactor No. 1, which is under renovation and not operating, and to an administrative training building.
On Friday morning, officials only referenced a blaze at the training building when they said that all fires at the plant were out — which Grossi also confirmed. The regional military administration reported unspecified damage to the compartment of reactor No. 1 but said it does not affect the safety of the power unit. He said that only one reactor at the plant is operating, at about 60% capacity.
The confusion itself underscored the dangers of active fighting near a nuclear power plant. It was the second time since the invasion began just over a week ago that concerns about a nuclear accident or a release of radiation materialized, following a battle at Chernobyl.
(With inputs from AP)
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