It's a 'Suicidal Thing': Europe's Biggest Nuke Plant Shelled

Russia blames Ukraine, and vice versa, amid calls for peacekeepers to take control of facility
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2022 8:42 AM CDT
It's a 'Suicidal Thing': Europe's Biggest Nuke Plant Shelled
A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine, in this May 1 photo.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – One thing both sides in the Russia-Ukraine war agree on: Shelling a nuclear plant is not a good idea. However, somebody shelled the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeastern Ukraine over the weekend, and each side is blaming the other, reports the BBC. "This time a nuclear catastrophe was miraculously avoided, but miracles cannot last forever," said Ukraine's nuclear regulator, Energoatom, per the Wall Street Journal. Russia has controlled the city since March, but Ukrainian technicians continue to staff the nuclear plant, which is the largest in Europe. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it in stark terms: "Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing," he said, per the Washington Post.

The shelling severed a power line and forced the plant to shut down one of its six reactors. Rockets also damaged three radiation monitors and broke windows at the plant, though no radiation was released. Petro Kotin, the head of Energoatom, wants the area surrounding the plant to be declared a military-free zone, with control of the facility transferred to international peacekeepers, reports Reuters. A failure to do so might result in a Chernobyl-scale disaster, particularly if a container of spent fuel is damaged, he warned. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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