CNN is reporting that Russian troops have occupied Europe’s largest nuclear power plant after fierce fighting near the Ukrainian facility that drew international condemnation and sparked fears of a potential nuclear incident.
Those concerns were quickly downplayed by experts, who warned against comparisons with the plant at Chernobyl, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in 1986.
According to CNN, modern plants are significantly safer than older ones like Chernobyl, they said. But analysts nonetheless expressed horror that Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine has spilled into nuclear facilities, a development with few recent parallels.
The operator and regulator of the site have communicated that the situation on the ground is “extremely tense and challenging,” according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“No country besides Russia has ever fired upon an atomic power plant’s reactors. The first time in history,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post.
The IAEA called for fighting around the facility to end, and world leaders were swift in their criticism of Russia’s move.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said what happens next at Zaporizhzhia is “a situation that is very difficult to sustain, very fragile” while there is an active military operation and Russian forces in control. “This is unprecedented,” he said. “Completely uncharted waters”, CNN report.
photo credit: CNN