‘More Worrying Than Chernobyl’: Fighting Rages At Europe’s Biggest Nuclear Power Plant

Via Common Dreams,

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised grave concerns on Saturday about the shelling the previous day at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, saying the action showed the risk of a nuclear disaster.

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was “extremely concerned” by the attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. These strikes threaten “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi said.

“Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would amount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he added. He followed this with Monday remarks warning that “Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing.”

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, south-eastern Ukraine. Image: Russian Emergencies Ministry Handout/EPA

The New York Times reported Saturday: “Fighting raged on Saturday near a sprawling nuclear power plant in the south of Ukraine, despite warnings from nuclear safety watchdogs earlier this week that conditions there were posing risks and “out of control.”

The Times also reported: “Mr. Grossi said he was far more worried about Zaporizhzhia than he was about Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, also in Ukraine, that radiated the surrounding area and imperiled Europe.”

Ukraine said parts of the facility were “seriously damaged” by Russian military strikes.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian state enterprise operating all four nuclear power stations in Ukraine said in a statement Saturday: “It is highly probable that all of this will cause a nuclear and radiation disaster.”

 “As a result of the attack, the nitrogen-oxygen unit and the combined auxiliary building have been severely damaged. The risks of hydrogen leakage and emission of radioactive substances persist, the fire hazard is also high,” Energoatom said.

As the warring sides trade blame for damage at the plant, speculation abounds over the accuracy of claims and counter-claims…

Russia’s defense ministry denied shelling the plant and accused Ukrainian forces of being responsible.

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