United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said he hoped international inspectors will be allowed access to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after both Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling the site, prompting grave warnings.
Zaporizhzhia, in south-east Ukraine, is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and was seized by the Russians in March but kept its Ukrainian employees.
“Any attack on a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing,” Guterres said, as the watchdog called it a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”, the BBC reported.
Russian forces currently hold the plant and surrounding areas, close to Ukrainian-held territory. It consists of six pressurized water reactors and stores radioactive waste.
Over the weekend, Ukraine and Russia both accused each other of shelling the plant, prompting warnings of disaster from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The power plant is in the city of Enerhodar, in southeast Ukraine along the left bank of the Dnipro River.
The UK defense ministry says Russia is using the area to launch attacks – taking advantage of the “protected status” of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk of overnight attacks from Ukrainian forces, the BBC said.
Ukraine says Russian attacks over the weekend damaged three radiation sensors and left a worker injured. A reactor had to be disconnected from the system.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for the attacks. The site has been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March, but Ukrainian technicians are still running it.
In his nightly address on Sunday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky again accused Russia of waging “nuclear terror” and urged countries to impose more sanctions on Moscow.