‘Whole world at risk’ as Europe’s biggest nuclear plant in Ukraine shelled again

Further shelling of Europe's biggest nuclear plant has led to officials calling for urgent measures to avoid a "nuclear accident" at the site.

Repeated bombing on Saturday morning (November 19) signalled an end to the "period of relative calm" at the Russian-controlled site in Ukraine.

And the International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that those responsible for the latest attacks at the Zaporizhzhia power plant are "playing with fire".

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More than a dozen explosions were reportedly heard during the weekend's hostilities, according to the agency's director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi.

But his team at the plant also confirmed that there was no damage to areas deemed "critical for nuclear safety and security".

Nevertheless, he added that the explosions had "abruptly ended a period of relative calm at the facility and further underlined the urgent need for measures to help prevent a nuclear accident there".

Mr Grossi went on to stress that he remained deeply committed in his attempts to demilitarise the area surrounding the plant but, while negotiations with both Moscow and Kyiv continue, that process is "so far without agreement".

Russia and Ukraine have both accused each other of targeting the huge site.

But western allies of Ukraine are unconvinced that the country would want to create a nuclear disaster on its own soil.

Ukrainian nuclear energy agency Energoatom released the following statement on the latest fighting at the plant: "This morning, as a result of numerous Russian shelling, at least 12 hits were recorded on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant."

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It then accused Moscow of "once again… putting the whole world at risk".

Russian state media, meanwhile, pointed the blamed at Ukraine, as an official claimed the storage area for spent nuclear fuel and the plant’s cooling system were both hit.

Prior to Russia's invasion, Zaporizhzhia generated 20% of Ukraine's electricity.

But, on several occasions after the plant was occupied by Kremlin troops, the country has been forced to operate on back-up generators.

Mykhaylo Podolyak – a key adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky – has poured cold water on suggestions that Kyiv should negotiate with Russia.

"When you have the initiative on the battlefield, it’s slightly bizarre," he argued.


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