Nuclear blackmail: IAEA confirms shelling at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announced today that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) sustained damage from repeated bombardment on November 19 and 20, with some of the explosions taking place close to the reactors.

A power plant in the war zone

The Russian bombardment, one of the most vital such instances in recent months, was described by Director General Grossi as another “close call” for Europe’s largest nuclear power station, which is currently situated in the center of a war zone.

There were no reports of injuries, and radiation levels at the site were still within standard limits. The Zaporizhzhya NPP’s external power sources were interrupted numerous times over the crisis, but they remained unaffected.

What did the shelling at ZNPP lead to?

The most recent shelling started before 6 o’clock local time on November 19 and continued at 9:15 on November 20 with more than a dozen bursts in forty minutes. The IAEA team of experts stated that the area was again silent after the morning firing.

The NPP management reported facilities damage to the IAEA experts in several locations, including a building for radioactive waste and storage, cooling pond sprinkler systems, an electrical cable to one of the reactors, condensate storage tanks, and a bridge connecting another reactor and its auxiliary buildings.

Call for urgent measures to protect ZNPP 

“Once again, we were fortunate that a potentially serious nuclear incident did not happen. Next time, we may not be so lucky. We must do everything in our power to make sure there is no next time,” Director General Grossi said, reiterating his call for urgent measures to protect the ZNPP and prevent a nuclear accident during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

A nuclear safety and security protective zone around the ZNPP must be established right away, the Director General insisted, adding that he has been in active consultations with international leaders over the most recent shelling of the plant today. 

“Even though there was no direct impact on key nuclear safety and security systems at the plant, the shelling came dangerously close to them. We are talking meters, not kilometers. Whoever is shelling at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is taking huge risks and gambling with many people’s lives,” Director General Grossi said.

The impact of the shelling on the facility will be evaluated this week by the IAEA team of experts. At the same time, experts understand who is to blame and that nuclear blackmail continues. Many territories and countries are at risk, while Russia continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, and shells vital energy infrastructure, including from captured territories.

According to Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear plants operator, the criminal acts of the Russian invading troops at the Zaporizhzhya NPP result in an environmental catastrophe because they destroy a significant environmental component of the facility. It was stated by the Energoatom on their Telegram account. Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of conducting a nuclear blackmail during its war in Ukraine.

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