Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant houses six of Ukraine’s nuclear energy reactors, and videos emerged of a fire there after reports it was under Russian attack.
The Ukrainian foreign minister wrote on Twitter that Zaporizhzhia is the “largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” that a fire broke out, that the Russian Army is firing upon it, and that, if it blows up, it could be “10 times larger” than Chernobyl.
According to a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency, “Russia has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its military forces have taken control of the territory around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said” on March 2, 2022.
“The ultimate goal of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is to liberate Ukraine from the People of Ukraine. Or in short, Genocide! Genocide of citizens of all nationalities!” Ukraine’s interior minister Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Urged the Russians to ‘Immediately Cease the Fire’
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba posted a statement on Twitter about the plant on March 3, 2022.
“Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!” he wrote.
Geraschchenko wrote on Facebook:
Because of Putin’s madness, Europe is again on the brink of a NUCLEAR DISASTER!
The photo shows the entrance to Energodar, the capital of energy workers of Ukraine.
The city, which has the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, is preparing for a fight with the occupants.
The nuclear power plant is protected by the heroes of the National Guard of Ukraine.
They won’t give up! There’s gonna be a fight.
The shells will be laid near the nuclear power plant. They will not be able to penetrate the concrete shell of the reactor, but they will surely damage transformers, turbines and other equipment necessary for the safety of the nuclear power plant.
An accident may occur as at the Chernobyl NPP or Fukushima NPP.
Russian generals – change your minds!
Do not create conditions for the new Chernobyl! Radiation knows no nationalities, one does not spare anyone!
Go around the Energodar and Zaporizhzhya NPP.
No one is waiting for you here!
2. The International Agency Says It’s Working to Maintain Safety at the Plant
The IAEA statement says that, in an official letter to the Director General dated March 1, 2022, “the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna also said personnel at the plant continued their ‘work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation. The radiation levels remain normal.'”
Earlier on March 1, Ukraine “informed the IAEA that all its nuclear power plants remained under the control of the national operator. In an update this morning, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) said it maintained communications with the country’s nuclear facilities and that the NPPs continued to operate normally,” the site reported.
According to Britannica, the Chernobyl disaster was an “accident in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet Union, the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power generation.” The radiation from Chernobyl spread to other countries, including western Europe, and is blamed for deaths and deformities, Britannica reported.
3. The Zaporizhzia Plant Houses Six of Ukraine’s 15 Nuclear Energy Reactors
According to the IAEA, the Zaporizhzhia plant “is the largest of Ukraine’s NPP sites with six out of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors.”
“In a letter addressed to the Director General and received on 1 March, the Acting Chief State Inspector of SNRIU has requested for IAEA to provide immediate assistance in coordinating activities in relation to the safety of the Chornobyl NPP and other nuclear facilities. The Director General will be holding consultations and maintain contacts in order to address this request,” the IAEA statement says.
“The Director General has repeatedly stressed that any military or other action that could threaten the safety or security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants must be avoided. He also said that operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure.”
The statement continues: “The IAEA continues to closely monitor developments in Ukraine, with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power reactors. The IAEA remains in constant contact with its counterpart and will continue to provide regular updates on the situation in Ukraine.”
4. The Town’s Mayor Says Firefighters Haven’t Been Able to Put Out the Blaze
Al-Jazeera reported on the evening of March 3, 2022, that firefighters “have not been able to start extinguishing a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant due to ongoing Russian shelling,” citing comments the town’s mayor made to Nexta channel.
He told that channel that the plant was started on fire after Russian troops attacked, Al-Jazeera reported.
The Nexta channel shared a video of the mayor, writing, “❗️Firefighters cannot start extinguishing a fire at the Zaporizhzhia NPP due to shelling. It is also reported that there is a hit in the first power unit.”
5. Ukrainian Citizens Tried to Stop the Russians From Attacking the Plant
According to the Guardian, the “Ukrainian state enterprise running the country’s nuclear industry, Energoatom,” accused the Russians of “openly terrorizing employees of the station and residents of its satellite city Energodar.”
The Guardian reported that “crowds” of Ukrainians tried to block Russian solders from reaching the plant.