Ukraine war: Accident at nuclear plant would be worse than Chernobyl

Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine - An accident at the Ukrainian nuclear plant in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia would be far worse than the Chernobyl or Fukushima disasters, according to a diplomat from Kyiv.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest such facility in Europe.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest such facility in Europe.  © REUTERS

"What will happen in a radius of 40 or 50 kilometers of the station, that is absolutely not comparable to Chernobyl or Fukushima," Ukrainian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yevheny Zymbalyuk said in Vienna, warning of severe consequences not only for Ukraine, but all of Europe.

His warning concerned the occupied plant in Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, which has been shelled several times in recent days, with Ukraine's nuclear agency highlighting "a risk of hydrogen leaking and radioactive particles dispersing."

Analysts say that compared to the plants at Chernobyl and Fukushima, Zaporizhzhia is better protected thanks to a separate cooling circuit and a special protective layer, although it would probably be unable to withstand a targeted military attack.

Ukraine war: Russia claims occupied regions voted overwhelmingly for annexation
Ukraine conflict Ukraine war: Russia claims occupied regions voted overwhelmingly for annexation

Zymbalyuk again demanded monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be sent to the facility, along with unarmed international military observers. He said IAEA representatives should be on the ground by the end of the month.

The IAEA has said any deployment would require the support of both Moscow and Kyiv. With both sides currently blaming each other for the shelling, that seems unlikely at the moment.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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