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Ukraine says shelling causes damage, threat of radiation leak at nuclear plant

Operator says Russian attacks have damaged infrastructure at Zaporizhzhia, which is controlled by invading forces

A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo)
A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo)

KYIV, Ukraine — There is a risk of a radioactive leak at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — Europe’s largest — which is occupied by Russian troops, the state energy operator said Saturday.

Enervator said Moscow’s troops had “repeatedly shelled” the site of the plant in southern Ukraine over the past day.

“As a result of periodic shelling, the infrastructure of the station has been damaged, there are risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances, and the fire hazard is high,” the nuclear agency said on Telegram.

The operator said that as of midday Saturday (0900 GMT) the plant “operates with the risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards.”

The Zaporozhye facility was seized by Russian troops in the opening weeks of the February invasion and has remained on the front line ever since.

Kyiv and Moscow have traded accusations over shelling in the vicinity of the complex, located in the city of Energeia.

On Thursday, the plant was cut off from Ukraine’s national power grid for the first time in its four-decade history due to “actions of the invaders,” Enervator said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the power cut was caused by Russian shelling of the last active power line linking the plant to the network.

It came back online on Friday afternoon but Zelensky warned “the worst case scenario… is constantly being provoked by Russian forces.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is urging for a mission to the plant “as soon as possible to help stabilize the nuclear safety and security situation there.”

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