The bombing of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is more worrying than Chernobyl

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised serious concerns on Saturday about the previous day’s bombing 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” about the attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power station.

These strikes threaten “the very real risk of a nuclear catastrophe that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi said.

“Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would be tantamount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he added.

The New York Times reported Saturday: “Fighting raged near a sprawling nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Saturday, despite warnings from nuclear safety watchdogs earlier this week that conditions there presented risks and “out of control”.

The Times also reported: “Mr Grossi said he was much more worried about Zaporizhzhia than about Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, also in Ukraine, which irradiated the surrounding region and endangered the Europe.”

Ukraine said parts of the facility were “severely damaged” by Russian military strikes.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian state enterprise operating the four nuclear power plants in Ukraine, said in a statement on Saturday: “It is highly probable that all this will cause a nuclear and radiological catastrophe.”

“As a result of the attack, the nitrogen-oxygen unit and the combined auxiliary building were badly damaged. The risks of hydrogen leakage and the emission of radioactive substances persist, the risk of fire is also high,” Energoatom said.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied bombing the factory and accused Ukrainian forces of responsibility.

Mary I. Bruner