Powerful explosions have shaken Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The global nuclear watchdog called for “urgent measures to help prevent a nuclear accident” in the Russian-occupied facility.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said two explosions near the Zaporizhzhia plant abruptly ended a period of relative calm around the nuclear facility that has been the site of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces since the start of the war.
There have been fears of a nuclear catastrophe since Russian troops occupied the plant during the early days of the invasion of Ukraine.
In what appeared to be renewed shelling close to and at the site, IAEA experts at the Zaporizhzhia facility reported hearing more than a dozen blasts within a short period yesterday morning.
Several buildings, systems and equipment at the power plant – none critical for the nuclear safety and security of the plant – were damaged in the shelling. There were no reports of casualties.
Mr Grossi said reports of shelling were “extremely disturbing.” He added: “Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately.
“You’re playing with fire!”
He appealed to both sides in the conflict to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the nuclear facility.
Russia has been pounding Ukraine’s power grid from the air, causing widespread blackouts for millions of Ukrainians amid bitter winter weather.
CREDIT: Charles Freeland