Powerful explosions rocked the area of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning, further underlining the urgent need for measures to help prevent a nuclear accident around ZNPP.
Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement published on the agency’s website, Ukrinform reports.
“In what appeared to be renewed shelling both close to and at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, IAEA experts at the ZNPP reported to Agency headquarters that more than a dozen blasts were heard within a short period of time in the morning local time. The IAEA team could also see some of the explosions from their windows,” the statement reads.
Citing information provided by plant management, the IAEA team said there had been damage to some buildings, systems and equipment at the ZNPP site, but “none of them so far critical for nuclear safety and security.”
It is noted that there were no reports of casualties. The IAEA experts are in close contact with site management and will continue to assess and report on the situation.
“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!” Grossi said.
He renewed his urgent appeal to Ukraine and Russia to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the ZNPP as soon as possible. According to Grossi, in recent months, he has engaged in intense consultations with Ukraine and Russia about establishing such a zone, but so far without an agreement.
“I’m not giving up until this zone has become a reality. As the ongoing apparent shelling demonstrates, it is needed more than ever,” he said.
As reported, ZNPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, has been captured by the Russian military since March 4.
The invaders placed military equipment and ammunition at the station, shelling the nearby area and the station itself, destroying power lines, causing a shutdown of power units and blaming the Ukrainian Armed Forces for this.