A fire has broken out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in south-eastern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, after Russia opened artillery shelling.
Nuclear plant spokesman Andriy Tuz told Ukrainian television channels that shells were falling directly on the facility and had set on fire one of its six reactors.
That reactor is under renovation and not operating, but there is nuclear fuel inside, he said.
Russian troops have begun shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power station in Ukraine, according to plant spokesperson.
Mayor of Enerhodar – Dmytro Orlov, on Friday morning, said that “the plant is now on fire”.
“As a result of continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire,” Mayor Dmytro Orlov said.
Another fire also broke out at a training building outside the perimeter of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, the Ukrainian emergency services informed in a statement.
“Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” Ukrainian foreign minister – Dmytro Kuleba said.
“We demand that they (Russia) stop heavy weapons fire,” Tuz said.
“There is a real threat of nuclear danger in the biggest atomic energy station in Europe,” he added.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the ten largest in the world.
Meanwhile, Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson says the “reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”.
On the other hand, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has informed that it has spoken with Ukrainian leadership, and has been told that ‘essential’ equipment at the plant is still functioning.
“Ukraine tells IAEA that fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected essential equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions,” the agency said.
Attack at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has brought back the harrowing memories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The still radioactive Chernobyl nuclear plant is the site of world’s worst nuclear accident ever that took place in 1986.
Chernobyl nuclear plant is located only 130 kilometers north of Kyiv.
The fourth reactor at Chernobyl, located 108 km north of the Kyiv, exploded in April 1986 during a botched safety test.
The explosion sent clouds of radiation billowing across much of Europe and reaching the eastern United States.