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‘Close call’ in shelling near nuclear reactor

‘Close call’ in shelling near nuclear reactor


Ukraine narrowly escaped disaster during fighting at the weekend that rocked Europe’s largest atomic power plant with a barrage of shells, some falling near reactors and damaging a radioactive waste storage building, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.

It was not clear which side was responsible for the explosions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which has been under Russian control since soon after it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Whoever fired on the plant was taking “huge risks and gambling with many people’s live,” said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “We were fortunate a potentially serious nuclear incident did not happen.

Next time, we may not be so lucky,” Grossi said late on Sunday in a statement, describing the situation as a “close call”.  Repeated shelling of the plant during the war has raised concern about a grave disaster in the country that suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown. Radiation levels remained normal and there were no reports of casualties, the IAEA said. While there was no direct impact on nuclear safety and security systems, “the shelling came dangerously close to them”, Grossi said. The Kremlin said on Monday it was concerned by what it said was repeated Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and called on global powers to ensure that Kyiv ceased attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power station.


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