Shelling hits power line at Ukrainian nuclear plant

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Shelling hits power line at Ukrainian nuclear plant

KYIV: Shelling hit a high-voltage power line on Friday August 5 at a major Ukrainian nuclear power station captured by Russia, prompting the plant's operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected.

Ukraine's state nuclear power company, Energoatom, blamed Russia for the damage done to the Zaporizhzhia power station, Europe's largest. The United Nations nuclear watchdog appealed for access to the plant, which Washington says Russia is using as a battlefield shield.

Russia's defence ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant that was captured in early March by Russian forces in the opening stage of the war, saying a leak of radiation had been avoided only by luck.

The power supply to another power supply had been cut, and the generating capacity of one unit had been reduced. The nearby town of Enerhodar had problems with water and power supplies, a ministry statement said.

It was not the first time that military action has caused alarm in Zaporizhzhia, where the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has reported losing connection with surveillance systems that keep track of nuclear material.

The Russian-installed administration of Enerhodar said in a statement that fire had broken out and power needed for the safe functioning of reactors had been cut off. The Ukrainian technicians run the plant.

The plant, about 200 km northwest of the Russian-held port of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine, was still operational and no radioactive discharges had been detected, according to Energoatom.

A decision was taken to disconnect one reactor from the network because of damage to a 330 kilowatt high-voltage power distribution line that connects the plant to the thermal power station, it said.

Both sides claimed small advances while Russian artillery bombarded towns and villages across a wide area in a now-familiar tactic.