According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine had been shelled by Russian forces overnight and one building on the site was burned, although the fire appears to be extinguished. The agency describes it as a serious situation. Others said it was a training building, not the nuclear reactor itself.
News reports from agencies on the ground report Russian troops at the entrance of the power plant engaged in active combat with Ukrainians defending the plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “Europe must wake up now. The largest nuclear station in Europe is on fire. Right now Russian tanks are shelling nuclear units. These are the tanks that have thermal vision, so they know where they are shelling. They prepared for it,” according to translated reports.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi appealed for a halt of the use of force and warned of severe danger if any reactors were hit. He is expected to hold a press conference at 10:30 Central European Time on Friday.
The Ukraine regulatory authority said a fire had not affected essential equipment and plant personnel were mitigating the situation. So far, there are no reported change in radiation levels at the plant, it said.
The IAEA has put its Incident and Emergency Centre in full response mode due to the situation at the power plant, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
It’s unclear who has control of the nuclear power plant at this point. Russians have already seized control of the mothballed Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in world history.