Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control, was rocked by bombing on Sunday, prompting condemnation from the UN nuclear watchdog, which said such attacks risked a major nuclear disaster.
More than a dozen explosions rocked Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Saturday night and Sunday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
Moscow and Kiev blamed each other for the bombing of the facility.
“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing,” said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.
“Explosions took place at the site of this large nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this should be stopped immediately. As I have said many times before, you are playing with fire!”.
Citing information provided by the plant’s management, the IAEA field team said there had been damage to several buildings, systems and equipment at the site, but none of it was critical to nuclear safety and security so far.
Repeated shelling of the plant in southern Ukraine, which Russia took control of shortly after its invasion in February, has raised concerns about the possibility of a major accident just 500 km (300 miles) from the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. world, Chernobyl in 1986.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant provided about a fifth of Ukraine’s electricity before Russia’s February 24 invasion and has been forced to operate with backup generators several times.
It has six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled reactors and water-moderated reactors containing Uranium 235.
The reactors are shut down, but there is a risk that the nuclear fuel could overheat if the power to the cooling systems is cut.