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8 Apr, 2024 10:43

IAEA condemns ‘reckless’ drone attack on Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant 

Russian state agency Rosatom has accused Kiev of striking the facility  
IAEA condemns ‘reckless’ drone attack on Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant 

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has condemned a drone strike on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), warning that “such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident.”   

Multiple explosive-laden Ukrainian drones targeted the plant in the city of Energodar in Zaporozhye Region on Sunday, Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom said in a statement.   

The IAEA, which has experts at the site, said it was the first time the facility had been directly targeted since November 2022, warning that the attack had endangered nuclear safety. The main reactor containment structure suffered at least three direct hits, Grossi confirmed on Sunday in a post on X (formerly Twitter).  

“This is a major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers facing the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. Such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident and must cease immediately,” the IAEA director general said.

“Although the damage at unit 6 has not compromised nuclear safety, this was a serious incident that had the potential to undermine the integrity of the reactor’s containment system,” he added.  

Even though there were no indications of damage to critical safety or security systems after the strike, Grossi argued that “no one can conceivably benefit or get any military or political advantage from attacks against nuclear facilities.”   

According to Rosatom, one kamikaze UAV struck near the power plant’s canteen, leaving at least three people injured and damaging a nearby truck. Another drone exploded in the vicinity of the cargo port, the agency said.  

“The Zaporozhye nuclear power station has been subjected to an unprecedented series of drone attacks, a direct threat to the safety of the plant,” Rosatom stated.    

“The radiation levels at the plant and the surrounding area have not changed,” the agency added.  

Rosatom took over the running of the nuclear power station, the largest in Europe, after Zaporozhye Region was incorporated into Russia following a referendum in the autumn of 2022.     

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of launching artillery, missile, and drone attacks against the facility, as well as repeatedly sending in special forces teams to try to seize it. The plant has suffered multiple blackouts and has been placed in a dormant state to minimize the chances of a potential catastrophe.