IAEA warns of nuclear disaster at Ukraine plant

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IAEA warns of nuclear disaster at Ukraine plant

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA said that the action showed the risk of a nuclear disaster and raised concerns on Saturday, Aug 6 at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Both sides accused each other of having engaged in nuclear terrorism. Energoatom, the state nuclear power company, blamed Russia for the damage, while Russia's defence ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant.

I'm extremely concerned by the shelling of Europe's largest nuclear power plant yesterday, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement.

Grossi, who leads the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, urged all sides in the Ukraine conflict to exercise the utmost restraint around the plant.

Shells hit a high-voltage power line at the facility, prompting its operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected. The plant was captured in early March by Russian forces in the opening stage of the war, but it is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.

Russia wanted to disconnect the station from the Ukrainian electricity system and cause blackouts in the south of the country, according to Energoatom. Moscow's forces, it said, had placed weapons and explosives in two of the power-generating units and mined the shoreline outside the plant.

It is highly likely that all of this will cause a nuclear and radiation disaster, it said on Saturday.

Russia's defence ministry said damage to the plant had only been avoided thanks to the skillful, competent and effective actions of its units.

Grossi said that military action that jeopardising the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia plant is unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs.