A fire that broke out in Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine after a Russian attack has been extinguished. Ukraine has condemned Russia for the attack on the facility, which could turn catastrophic. Ukraine’s emergency services said today they have accessed the nuclear power plant. “As of 05:20 at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar, State Emergency Service units went to put out the fire in the training building,” the state emergency service composed on Facebook, noting that 40 people and 10 vehicles were involved in the operation.
Local authorities reported no immediate radiation rise was detected and “essential” equipment was unaffected by the fire, but it remained unclear what the invading forces planned next.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the reactors at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station “are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down”. Ms. Granholm tweeted she had just spoken with Ukraine’s energy minister about the situation at the plant. “We have seen no elevated radiation readings near the facility,” Ms. Granholm said.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of attempting to “repeat” the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and said he had spoken with international leaders including US President Joe Biden about the crisis at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Pictures on a live feed from the site earlier showed blast lighting the night sky and sending up plumes of smoke, with the International Atomic Energy Agency asking for a prompt stop to fight there. “No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units,” Mr. Zelensky said in a video message.
“This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror. If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe. This is the evacuation of Europe. Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops,” Mr. Zelensky said as he appealed for global help.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for endangering all of Europe Friday, after the attack on the nuclear power plant. “The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe,” according to a Downing Street statement.
The station at Zaporizhzhia, an industrial city in southeast Ukraine, supplies an expected 40 percent of the country’s nuclear power and, as indicated by Mr. Zelensky, houses six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors. Ukraine’s nuclear facilities have been a main point of concern after Russia’s military invaded the country last week and began bombarding cities with shells and missiles.
A nuclear power plant disaster in Ukraine’s Chernobyl in April 1986 was one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power generation. Mistakes by engineers and compounded by different factors prompted an uncontrolled chain response that resulted in massive explosions in Chernobyl in 1986