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‘You’re playing with fire!': IAEA condemns blast at Ukraine's nuclear plant

‘You’re playing with fire!': IAEA condemns blast at Ukraine's nuclear plant

Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi also said that the news of shelling at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disturbing.

While it is not clear who is behind the incident, Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the shelling of the facility While it is not clear who is behind the incident, Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the shelling of the facility

Chief of the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi sounded a warning and stated that whoever is behind the shelling at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is “playing with fire”. Grossi also said that the news of shelling at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disturbing. 

“Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire! ” Grossi said in a statement. 

While it is not clear who is behind the incident, Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the shelling of the facility. An IAEA team said there had been damage to some buildings, systems, and equipment but none of them were crucial for nuclear safety and security due to the strikes that took place late on Saturday and on Sunday, according to the news agency Reuters. 

The IAEA said, “There has been damage to parts of the site, but no radiation release or loss of power.”

Russian defence ministry accused Ukraine of firing shells at power lines connected to the plant but Ukrainian energy firm Energoatoom accused the Russian military of shelling at the site. Energoatom claimed that Russians targeted necessary infrastructure to restart the plant in an attempt to provide electricity supply to Ukrainians. 

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine is hoping to bring power units 5 and 6 to a minimally controlled power level to obtain steam, critical for ensuring the safety of the plant and surrounding areas in winter. 

Moving on from the blame game, the shelling has impacted the lives of Ukrainians as the blackouts were scheduled across 15 regions and the city of Kyiv on Sunday night. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, “The restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities, the de-mining of power transmission lines, repairs– everything goes on round the clock.” 

The Zaporizhzhia plant provided about a fifth of the country’s electricity before the Russian invasion. It has six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled and water-moderated reactors containing Uranium 235. The reactors at the plant are shut but there is an imminent risk of overheating of nuclear fuel if the power driving the cooling systems was cut.  

(With inputs from agencies)

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