Concern for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine: There is a risk of spraying radioactive substances

Eva Deschamps / August 28, 2022

There is a risk of spraying radioactive substances at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant of Zaporizhia, occupied by Russian troops, warned Saturday the Ukrainian state operator.
According to Energoatom, Russian troops have shelled the site several times over the past day.
As a result of the periodic shelling, the plant's infrastructure has been damaged and there are risks of hydrogen leakage and radioactive spraying, the Ukrainian nuclear power company said on Telegram, adding that there is a high risk of fire.
Russia, for its part, has also accused Ukraine of shelling Zaporizhia in the last 24 hours.
In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that Ukrainian artillery had fired 17 shells on the compound of the plant, the largest in Europe.
Four (shells) fell on the roof of special building No. 1, where 168 American nuclear fuel assemblies from the firm WestingHouse are located, he said, adding that the remaining shells crashed 30 meters from a used fuel depot and near another containing fresh fuel.
According to the Russian army, the Ukrainian army is carrying out these shootings from the vicinity of the town of Marhanet, which faces the power plant, on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River still controlled by Kiev.
AFP was unable to verify these statements from an independent source.
The Zaporizhia power plant, where six of Ukraine's 15 reactors are located, was seized by Russian troops in early March, shortly after the launch of the invasion on February 24, and is close to the front line in the south.
Kiev and Moscow accuse each other of carrying out bombings near the complex, which is itself close to the town of Energodar on the Dnieper River.
On Thursday, the plant was cut off from the Ukrainian power grid for the first time since it was commissioned four decades ago, due to the actions of invaders, according to Energoatom.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the power outage was caused by Russian shelling of the last active power line connecting the plant to the grid.  
The plant was back online Friday afternoon, but Zelensky warned that the worst case constantly being provoked by Russian forces.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is urging a mission to the plant as soon as possible to help stabilize the nuclear safety and security situation.
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