Ukraine-Russia crisis: ‘Essential’ nuclear plant equipment not affected, officials say

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“Essential” equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine was not affected by the fire from Russia, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm confirmed that the area near the nuclear facility did not show signs of elevated radiation, reporting that “essential” equipment was not affected.

“We saw no high radiation readings near the facility,” Ms. Granholm said.

However, the nuclear plant’s reactors are safely shut down, the US energy secretary said.

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was attacked amid fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops on Friday morning after a fire broke out at a training building outside the facility, officials said. Ukrainian state emergency service officials.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility supplies more than a fifth of the total electricity produced in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for an immediate ceasefire at the site to avert a catastrophic nuclear disaster. US President Joe Biden also demanded that Russian troops stop firing at Ukraine’s power plant and make way for emergency services.

Preliminary footage of the fire in the building near the nuclear facility showed continued shelling and rising smoke early Friday.

The international energy agency, the IAEA, said it was deploying its incident and emergency center in 24/7 response mode due to a serious situation at the plant nuclear in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released his video statement soon after, saying Europe must wake up now.

“Europe must wake up. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is on fire right now. Russian tanks are firing at the nuclear blocks,” the president said.

Mr Zelensky added: “These are tanks with thermal imagers, so they know what they are shooting at. They prepared for it. I address all Ukrainians, all Europeans and all those who know the word Chernobyl, who know that many victims were inflicted by the explosion of the nuclear power plant.

It was a global catastrophe and its aftermath was fought by hundreds of thousands of people, he said.

Russian aggression in Ukraine gripped southeast Kyiv as heavy fighting was reported in the region by the mayor of a nearby town of Energodar.

Some casualties were also reported, the mayor said without giving further details.

Mayor Dymtro Orlov said: “Due to continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire.”

Troops from Moscow have already wrested control of the defunct Chernobyl plant, a major threat to the region. The facility spewed out deadly radioactive waste, killing thousands when it melted down in 1986.

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