Artillery shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant could spell nuclear disaster for Ukraine and the world

Ukraine could experience a nuclear disaster similar to the Chernobyl incident in 1986. This time, however, it would not be caused by a reactor core meltdown but artillery strikes amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), warned that ongoing shelling at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine “underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.” “Since the beginning of this tragic war, the IAEA – and I personally – have been working on supporting Ukraine in keeping all its nuclear facilities safe and secure,” Grossi said. “Despite our determined efforts, it has not been possible, so far.”

Nevertheless, the IAEA official reiterated that he will not give up and that he will “continue to push – and push again – for this IAEA mission to finally take place.”

If Grossi’s mission pushes through, he and his team will ensure the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia power plant. They will also give objective and independent information about the condition of the facility. However, the IAEA mission has not yet gone off the ground for reasons unknown.

Oleksandr Starukh, the Zaporizhzhia region’s chief of military administration, warned of disastrous consequences in the event that rockets do hit the plant.

“It won’t be another Chernobyl, because this station is even bigger,” he said. “It will be even worse.”(Related: Russian forces capture Chernobyl power plant; media expresses concern over possibility of radioactive leak from site.)

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