Parts of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant were “severely damaged” by military attacks that forced one of its reactors to shut down, the plant operator said Saturday.
Friday’s attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine – Europe’s largest nuclear complex – “severely damaged” a station containing nitrogen and oxygen and an “auxiliary building,” Energoatom told the messaging service. Telegram.
Kiev and Moscow blamed each other for the attacks.
Ukraine was: Zaporizhzhia air strikes
The risk of fire remains high
The strikes damaged an electric cable, forced one of the reactors to stop working and “there are still risks of hydrogen and radioactive substances leaking, and the risk of fire is also high,” Energoatom said.
The bombing had “created a serious risk to the safe operation of the plant”.
Russian troops have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant since the early days of their invasion, and Kiev accused them of storing heavy weapons there.
Watch: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Moscow accused Ukrainian forces of targeting the plant.
On Saturday, the European Union struck Russia for bombing.
“The EU condemns Russia’s military activities around the #Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” the bloc’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted.
“This is a gross and irresponsible violation of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s contempt for international standards.”
Borrell insisted that UN nuclear control, the International Atomic Energy Agency, had access to the plant.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog also expressed its alarm in a statement Saturday.
The strikes represented “the latest in a long series of increasingly alarming reports,” said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
They stressed “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond”.
He added that “military action that jeopardizes the safety” of the plant is “completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs”.
The IAEA has been trying for weeks to send a team to inspect the facility. Ukraine has so far rejected the efforts, which she believes would legitimize the Russian occupation of the site in the eyes of the international community.
He said employees of Russian nuclear operator Rosatom had left the plant shortly before the attacks, but Ukrainian personnel remained and the plant was still generating electricity.
‘Atomic bomb’ in Ukraine
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that “any bombing of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror”.
And the Ukrainian foreign ministry had stated that “the possible consequences of hitting a functioning reactor are equivalent to the use of an atomic bomb”.
Earlier this week, the IAEA described the situation at the nuclear power plant as “volatile”.
“Every safety principle has been violated in one way or another,” Grossi said.