Direct drone hit at Ukraine’s occupied nuclear plant

IAEA visiting Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant on 15 June 2023 (Fredrik Dahl/IAEA/CC BY 2.0 Deed)
Drones attacked Ukraine’s Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant yesterday and hit one of its six reactor buildings, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports.

The IAEA said the attack didn’t compromise the nuclear safety of Europe’s biggest nuclear plant, but said it could have undermined its containment system.

Russia blamed the attack on Ukraine, which Ukraine denied, Reuters reports.

IAEA said it was the first direct attack on the plant since November 2022.

Its director General Rafael Mariano Grossi called the attack “a major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers” facing the plant.

“Such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident and must cease immediately,” he added.

He said IAEA experts stationed at the site went to three affected locations.

They confirmed the physical impact of detonations, including at one of the site’s six reactor buildings where the IAEA said surveillance and communication equipment “appeared to have been targeted”.

While they were at the roof of the reactor, unit 6, Russian troops engaged what appeared to be an approaching drone. This was followed by an explosion near the reactor building.

In its statement, the IAEA said: “While the team so far has not observed any structural damage to systems, structures, and components important to nuclear safety or security of the plant, they reported observing minor superficial scorching to the top of the reactor dome roof of Unit 6 and scoring of a concrete slab supporting the primary make-up water storage tanks.”

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