UN chief condemns ‘suicidal’ shelling around Ukrainian nuclear plant

“Any attack on a nuclear power plant is suicidal,” Guterres told reporters in Tokyo on Monday. “I hope these attacks will end,” he said, calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to allow access to the plant.

The Zaporizhia plant occupies a vast area on the Dnieper River. It has been operating at reduced capacity since Russian forces seized it in early March, with Ukrainian technicians remaining on the job.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s state energy company Energoatom said a worker was wounded by Russian shelling around the plant on Saturday.

Energoatom claimed that three radiation monitoring sensors had also been damaged, “making it currently impossible to detect and respond in a timely manner in the event of an escalation of radiation conditions or leakage of radiation from spent nuclear fuel canisters.”

“A nuclear disaster was miraculously averted this time, but miracles don’t last forever,” the company added.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Energoatom president Petro Kotin said Sunday’s strike was 20 meters from a processed fuel storage area.

“If they had hit a container with processed fuel, it would have been a radiation accident,” he said.

Kotin suggested that if one container is hit, “it will be a localized accident on the plant area and the surrounding area. If it’s two (or) three containers — the affected area will increase.”

Kotin also said that during the shelling, communication lines between nuclear plants, hydroelectric plants and the Ukrainian energy system were cut.

“So far the Zaporizhia NPP (nuclear power plant) is connected to the Ukrainian energy system by only one communication line. If all the lines are damaged, the plant will transfer to the so-called ‘black-out’ mode. Completely de-energized. And this situation is to keep the fuel in nuclear reactors in a safe state. It would be too dangerous,” he said.

For the second time in so many days, the tree was hit. Both Ukraine and Russia have claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Russian-backed officials in a nearby town — Enrhodar — claimed that a Ukrainian missile came within 400 meters of one of the plant’s reactors. At the same time as the power plant, the Russian army occupied the city.

“Tonight, the armed formations of Ukraine were hit by a Uragan 220 mm rocket missile cluster rocket,” the local authority claimed, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

“The administrative building and the area adjacent to the dry cask storage facility were damaged by the projectiles. It is important to note that the impact point of the warhead shrapnel and the rocket propulsion engine was not more than 400 meters from the active reactor,” officials said.

CNN cannot verify the claims made by either side. The Russians are shelling the Ukrainian-held city of Nikopol from positions around the plant.

Fears about the safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant have been mounting since Russian forces seized the site, but Friday’s shelling damaged high-voltage power lines and forced one of the plant’s reactors to stop operating despite no radioactive leaks. being searched for.

After the attack, Energoatom said Russian shellfire had damaged the nitrogen-oxygen station and a combined support building, and “there are still risks of hydrogen leaks and spewing of radioactive material, and the risk of fire is also high.”

On Saturday, the IAEA’s director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said he was “extremely concerned by the shootings, which highlight the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has accused Russia of using the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant to terrorize Europe, said on Sunday that he had spoken to European Council President Charles Michel about the situation at the complex.

“Russian nuclear terrorism requires a strong response from the international community – sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel,” Zelensky tweeted.

The IAEA has been trying to coordinate defense experts to visit the plant since it was seized by Russian forces. Ukraine’s ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna, Yevheny Tsymbaliuk, warned of dire consequences if anything happened to the plant at a press conference on Monday, saying it “cannot even be compared to Chernobyl or Fukushima.”

Tsymbaliuk said Ukraine would like a delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations to visit the station to monitor its condition, but Russia’s military operations in Ukraine make such a trip “impossible.”

The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is seen from a distance on Thursday.

‘Irresponsible violation of nuclear safety regulations’

As Russia and Ukraine blame each other for recent rocket and missile attacks near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Energotom President Kotin said Russian troops should be expelled from the plant and a demilitarized zone created on the plant’s territory.

He also reiterated Ukraine’s claim that Russia moved weapons into the plant’s power units.

“There are 14 heavy military equipment in the first power unit. There are 6 vehicles in the second engine room and we don’t know what is in those vehicles. There are also heavy weapons,” he said.

He also claimed that the Russian army had occupied all the shelters in the power plant and the workers had nowhere to go when the firing broke out.

Many Western and Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is now using the giant nuclear facility as a bastion to protect its forces and mount attacks, because they think Kyiv will not rekindle and risk a crisis.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi calls strike on Zaporizhia nuclear power plant "Terrible"

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Moscow of using the plant to shield its forces, while Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in a recent security assessment that Russia’s actions at the complex put the security of its operations at risk.

Dmytro Orlov, the Ukrainian mayor of Enrhodar, said in late July that Russian forces appeared to have used heavy weapons near the plant because “they know very well that the Ukrainian armed forces will not respond to these attacks, because they can damage the nuclear plant.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry warned on Friday that further attacks on the plant could be devastating.

“The potential consequences of hitting an operating reactor are similar to the use of a nuclear bomb,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Source link

Leave a Comment