As the ninth day of conflict in Ukraine begins, the situation on the ground continues to spiral out of control as Russian shells have reportedly landed at Europe’s largest nuclear reactor near the city of Zaporizhzhia.
According to a statement from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Spokesperson Andrii Tuz, the shelling from Russian heavy weapons has caused a fire. The plant, which has been disconnected from the grid in recent days for planned maintenance contains an unmentioned amount of nuclear fuel. According to the spokesman, the nuclear fuel was due to be unloaded in the central hall of the reactor, mentioning that if the hermetic membrane of the fuel is destroyed, the threat of release of radioactive material is real.
While the exact location of the fire at the plant isn’t known at the moment, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged Russia to immediately stop shelling the power plant, allow firefighters to come in, and establish a security zone. Adding that if the plant blows up, the fallout could be ten times larger than Chernobyl.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 4, 2022
At around 4 AM local time, Ukrinform reported that Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said "Firefighters have been allowed to enter Zaporizhzhia NPP," by Russian invaders.
According to plant spokespeople, radiation levels surrounding the nuclear power plant have not changed during the last couple of hours.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com
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