UKRAINE is one step away from nuclear disaster after Europe’s largest nuclear power plant reportedly went offline again.
Russian authorities claimed the Zaporizhia plant in southern Ukraine went offline in the early hours of Saturday after heavy bombing destroyed a key power line.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces made another attempt to take the Russian-held plant in an attack on Friday night.
Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Kremlin-appointed regional administration, said the site came under heavy shelling for about two hours and a shell landed between two reactors.
“The Dneprovskaya power line was hit. The nuclear power plant has switched to self-consumption,” he said on Telegram.
The Defense Ministry said a Ukrainian naval force of more than 250 soldiers attempted to land on the shore of a lake near the plant at 11 p.m. local time.
Russia claimed its forces thwarted the attack with attacks from military helicopters and warplanes, destroying 20 Ukrainian ships and causing others to disperse and call off the attack.
The claims came after a team of inspectors from the UN nuclear agency arrived at the site, which was embroiled in fierce fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
The plant was taken off the grid for the first time ever last week after fire damage to overhead lines caused by heavy shelling.
Kyiv and Moscow continue to blame each other for attacks on the power plant.
The plant was captured by Russian forces in March in the early days of the war, but is still connected to Ukraine’s electricity grid and is run by Ukrainian workers.
Ukrainian authorities have accused Moscow of rocketing two towns overlooking the facility across the Dnieper.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said it carried out its own strikes against Russian positions in Enerhodar, just a few kilometers from the nuclear power plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dispatched a mission to the nuclear power plant this week amid fears an escalation could trigger a Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster on the European continent.
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi pointed to the growing dangers of the ongoing fighting after guiding his team through the compound.
He said: “There were moments where fire was obvious, heavy machine guns, artillery, mortars two or three times was really very worrying I would say for all of us.”
Robert Mardini, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has warned that fighting must stop immediately before a “massive incident” triggers disaster.
Mardini told a news conference: “In the event of a nuclear leak, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to provide humanitarian aid… and therefore fighting should stop.”
“It is therefore time to stop playing with fire and instead take concrete measures to protect these and similar facilities from military operations.
“The slightest miscalculation could unleash devastation that we will regret for decades to come.”
He added: “The scenario could be a massive incident and there is very little anyone can do to mitigate the dire consequences of it.”
Ukraine and the West have said Russia is using the site as a heavy weapons base to discourage Ukraine from firing on it.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu denied that Russia had heavy weapons in the power plant and accused Ukraine of committing “nuclear terrorism” by attacking the power plant.
It comes after residents in areas at risk of a radiation leak were advised to prepare supplies including food, water, clothing, valuables and documents.
Iodine tablets have been distributed to residents living near the plant amid fears the site could be the scene of a catastrophic nuclear disaster.
Zaporizhia’s reactors are protected by thick reinforced concrete domes that experts say can withstand shelling.
But many of the radiation fears focus on a possible failure of the cooling system – and the risk that an attack on the cooling ponds, where spent fuel rods are stored, could scatter radioactive material.
The Kremlin has called for a UN Security Council meeting on September 6 to address the situation in Zaporizhia.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6140211/ukraine-nuclear-disaster-russian-occupied-plant-offline-again/ Ukraine is one step away from nuclear disaster as Russian-occupied plant ‘goes offline AGAIN and shells land between reactors’