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Russian troops seize two nuclear plants, heading to a third, Zelensky says

This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows a bright flaring object landing in the grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, on March 4, 2022. (Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant via AP)
This image made from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows a bright flaring object landing in the grounds of the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, on March 4, 2022. (Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant via AP)

LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces have now seized two Ukrainian nuclear power plants and are advancing toward a third, Ukraine’s president says during a call with US senators.

Volodymyr Zelensky says the third plant currently under threat is the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Mykolaiv, one of several cities the Russians were trying to keep encircled.

One of the plants under the Russians’ control is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. The other is Chernobyl, which is not active but is still staffed and maintained. Previous Russian shelling sparked a fire at the Zaporizhzhia plant that was extinguished without a release of radiation.

Technical safety systems are intact and radiation levels are still normal at the Zaporizhzhia plant, according to the country’s nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency says.

Two out of the six reactors at the plant, Europe’s biggest, are now operating after Russian forces took control of the site, the nuclear regulator tells the IAEA.

Ukraine has four nuclear plants with a total of 15 reactors.

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