August 10, 2022

Washington Post:

A series of blasts hit the plant on Friday, causing some damage and partially disconnecting a reactor from Ukraine’s electricity grid — although no radioactive leak was detected. Russian forces control the complex, which has six nuclear reactors and is the largest of its kind in Europe, but Ukrainian staff still operate the plant.

U.N. chief António Guterres on Monday called any attack on a nuclear facility “suicidal” and demanded that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, be allowed to enter Zaporizhzhia.

“Russia must immediately cease occupation of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and withdraw its military equipment,” Poland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Monday on Twitter.

Over the weekend, IAEA director Rafael Grossi warned in a statementthat the shelling raised the “very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.”

Both Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the explosions. Ukraine accused Russia of using the plant as a shield for artillery and rocket fire, while Russia says Ukraine has launched its own strikes in the area.

Moscow indicated Monday that it would allow IAEA inspectors to access the site but offered no details on how it would facilitate a visit. Ukraine relies heavily on nuclear energy — its 15 functional reactors, six of them in Zaporizhzhia, provide about half of the country’s electricity, according to the IAEA.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, also told The Washington Post that Kyiv supports a U.N. team coming to the nuclear site “as soon as possible.”


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