Russia, Ukraine quarrel over nuclear power plants

Moscow and Kiev accuse each other of being behind the attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the city of Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine.

The Russian military has controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the very beginning of its military operation in Ukraine, and Kiev accuses them of storing heavy weapons there. Moscow meanwhile accused Kiev of repeatedly targeting the factory.

“Three attacks were recorded at the plant, near one of the nuclear reactor sites,” Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom said in a statement. “There is a risk of hydrogen leakage and radiation. The possibility of a fire is very high.”

A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on April 27.  Photo: AFP.

A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on April 27. Image: AFP.

The attacks also damaged an electrical cable, causing one of the reactors to stop working. Energoatom said employees of Russian nuclear operator Rosatom rushed out of the plant before the danger.

Speaking in a daily video on the evening of August 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia must be “responsible” for threatening the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

“Today, the enemy has created another extremely risky situation for the whole of Europe. They attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant twice. Any raid on this site is a crime, an act of terrorism,” he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry denies all accusations made by Kiev. “Ukrainian armed units carried out three artillery attacks on the area of ​​the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the city of Energodar,” the ministry said.

On July 20, Russia also accused Ukraine of using two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack the Zaporizhzhia plant, but the reactors were not damaged.

Location of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant.  Graphics: Washington Post.

Location of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant. Graphics: Washington Post.

Zaporizhzhia, which produces 19% of Ukraine’s electricity in 2020 and is one of the largest nuclear power plants in Europe, has six large reactors and six cooling tanks with hundreds of tons of nuclear fuel. Three are in operation and three have closed since the outbreak of the conflict.

Vu Hoang (Theo AFP)

Leave a Comment