Facebook Twitter

Nuclear complex struck again: Risk of catastrophe grows in Ukraine

The United Nations is calling for the demilitarization of the largest nuclear complex in Europe after repeated shelling incident

SHARE Nuclear complex struck again: Risk of catastrophe grows in Ukraine

In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, a general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine. The Russian military said that Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Sunday caused a power surge and fire and forced staff to lower output from two reactors.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Associated Press

Friday, Ukraine and Russia again traded blame for the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Ukraine’s Energoatom agency reported that Europe’s largest nuclear complex was struck five times on Thursday, near radioactive material storage, according to Reuters. Energoatom workers are being forced to work at the station under Russian occupancy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is sounding alarms about the potential for a nuclear disaster, as Ukraine launches a counteroffensive on the southern region including the city of Kherson, per The Associated Press.

What is being said:

  • In a press release, the IAEA Director-General Mariano Grossi said the shelling had “potentially catastrophic consequences” and “underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “there is no such nation in the world that could feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant,” per Reuters.
  • Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the world was being pushed “to the brink of nuclear catastrophe,” according to Reuters.
  • Antonio Guterres, the United Nationals secretary-general, said “any attack (on) a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing,” per the BBC.

Driving the news:

  • Guterres, is calling for the demilitarization of the area, reports The New York Times.
  • Officials claim there are 500 Russian soldiers and rocket launchers in the area, using the plant as a base to launch attacks, per the BBC. The claims have not been independently verified.
  • The IAEA is continuing to request a mission be sent to the site to “stabilize the nuclear safety and security situation,” and is receiving partial remote safeguard data from the site.

What to watch

The New York Times reports that the workers in the plant are “under enormous strain” and have been “subjected to harsh interrogations including torture with electrical shocks” while not being allowed to retreat to underground shelters.

Moscow said it would allow IAEA inspectors into the site amid international pressure, but did not provide details on how it would be accomplished, per The Washington Post.