Russian troops attack Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine
In their continued attempt to invade Ukrainian territory, Russian troops have now attacked Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, in Eastern Ukraine, causing a fire in its premises, AP News reported.
As the invasion of Ukraine entered its second week, Russian troops attacked the eastern city of Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. The largest power generator in Europe, the plant has six reactors and tends to 20 percent of Ukraine's energy needs.
Attack on the power plant
The site of the power plant saw intense shelling followed by attacks by ground troops, Reuters reported. According to an AP News report, the shelling had set fire to one of the reactors, which was under renovation. Firefighters were earlier unable to reach the site since they were being shot at and the nuclear power plant spokesperson demanded that the heavy weapons fire be stopped to allow the fire to be extinguished.
However, in its report, Reuters said that a five-story training facility at the site had caught fire. In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called upon Europeans to take notice of how Russia was firing at a nuclear power plant. Last week, Russian troops had seized control of the site of the Chernobyl power plant.
Minister for External Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, warned on Twitter that the Russian attack could end in a nuclear disaster, 10 times the size of Chernobyl.
Ukrainian emergency services later confirmed that the fire at the site has been extinguished without affecting critical infrastructure.
Nuclear analysts also told Bloomberg that Ukrainian nuclear reactors were not at severe risk from attacks after upgrades following the Fukushima disaster. The reactors were protected by metal and cement shells that could handle crashing aircraft and sensors would shut down the reactors in the event of a major attack.
The American Nuclear Society told AP News that radiation levels from the plant were normal and the violent invasion and bombing from Russia was a bigger threat to Ukraine, at the moment.
According to the most updated Reuters report, Russian forces have now seized the power plant and the power plant is operating normally.
Only the southern port city of Kherson has fallen to Russian troops while others like Kharkiv and Mariupol have been heavily attacked but not yet conquered. Russian troops are 16 miles from the center of the capital city of Kyiv, Reuters reported.
This was a breaking story and was updated periodically.
Update: 0300 ET: Details of attacks, Russia seizing control of the plant