Russian top official warns of a possible nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia

Rosatom, Russia’s head of the state-run nuclear energy agency, warned on Monday that there was a danger of a nuclear accident in the Zaporizhzhia power plant. This is Europe’s largest nuclear power station, and it had been subject to renewed shelling since the weekend.

Since March when Russian forces took control of the facility, Kyiv and Moscow have been waging a war on each other about whether they shelled it. This was just a few months after Kyiv invaded Ukraine. New fears have been raised about a potential disaster at the site after renewed shelling was reported on Sunday.

“The plant is at high risk of nuclear accidents.” Interfax quotes Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev saying that they were in negotiations all night with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Rosatom controls the facility via a subsidiary. President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia in October to formalize seize the plant, and to transfer the Ukrainian workers to a Russian entity. According to Kyiv, the transfer of assets amounts theft.

Likhachev stated that the IAEA had called for the establishment of a security area around the plant. This would be possible only if the United States approves it.

Interfax quoted him saying that “I believe the large distance between Washington, Zaporizhzhia shouldn’t be an argument for America to delay the decision about a security area.”

Rosatom’s head said that Kyiv appeared to be willing to accept a small nuclear accident at the nuclear power plant. “This precedent will forever change history’s course.” According to TASS, he stated that everything must be done to ensure no one violates the security of the nuclear plant.

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