The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised grave concerns on Saturday about the shelling the previous day at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, saying the action showed the risk of a nuclear disaster.
IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was "extremely concerned" by the attacks on Europe's largest nuclear power plant. These strikes threaten "the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond," Grossi said.
"Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would amount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences," he added. He followed this with Monday remarks warning that "Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing."
The New York Times reported Saturday: "Fighting raged on Saturday near a sprawling nuclear power plant in the south of Ukraine, despite warnings from nuclear safety watchdogs earlier this week that conditions there were posing risks and “out of control.”
The Times also reported: "Mr. Grossi said he was far more worried about Zaporizhzhia than he was about Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, also in Ukraine, that radiated the surrounding area and imperiled Europe."
Ukraine said parts of the facility were "seriously damaged" by Russian military strikes.
Live briefing: Russia and Ukraine are accusing one another of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia plant, triggering fears of an international nuclear crisis. https://t.co/GOk6s1nN6p— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 6, 2022
Energoatom, the Ukrainian state enterprise operating all four nuclear power stations in Ukraine said in a statement Saturday: "It is highly probable that all of this will cause a nuclear and radiation disaster."
"As a result of the attack, the nitrogen-oxygen unit and the combined auxiliary building have been severely damaged. The risks of hydrogen leakage and emission of radioactive substances persist, the fire hazard is also high," Energoatom said.
As the warring sides trade blame for damage at the plant, speculation abounds over the accuracy of claims and counter-claims...
The Russian military has moved some military trucks onto the premise of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) August 7, 2022
That must be the reason why, according to Ukrainian and British claims, it has and is shelling said power plant.
Lesson: Even propaganda should stick to logic. https://t.co/LgoZAHPiUo
Russia's defense ministry denied shelling the plant and accused Ukrainian forces of being responsible.