Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant: what you need to know

·2-min read
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant: what you need to know
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant: what you need to know

Russian forces have taken control of Europe's largest power plant - Zaporizhzhia.

Where is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located?

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and is located in Enerhodar on the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine.

It is about 550 kilometres southeast of Ukraine's capital Kyiv. The plant has six reactors each generating 950MW and produces enough energy to power four million homes.

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What happened on Friday morning?

A fire had broken out at the plant in the early hours of Friday after it was shelled by Russian forces.

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed the blaze was extinguished around 6.20am (4.20am GMT).

The nuclear plant spokesman Andriy Tuz revealed that the shelling set fire to one of the six reactors of the plant.

This reactor was under renovation and was not operating at the time but there is nuclear fuel inside, he warned.

Local officials added that operational personnel are ensuring the site’s safety. However, Russian forces have now taken control of the plant.

In a speech during the night, Ukraine’s leader resident Volodymyr Zelensky said he feared an explosion at the Zaporizhzhia plant that would be “the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe”.

“Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops,” he warned. “Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”

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Is there a radiation threat following the fire?

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the fire had not affected essential equipment and that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reported no change in radiation levels.

However, the director general of the agency added: "I’m extremely concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and what happened there during the night.

"Firing shells in the area of a nuclear power plant violates the fundamental principle that the physical integrity of nuclear facilities must be maintained and kept safe at all time.”

The American Nuclear Society concurred, saying that the latest radiation levels remained within natural background levels.

“The real threat to Ukrainian lives continues to be the violent invasion and bombing of their country,” the group said in a statement.

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