In the wee hours of the morning, you might have seen a video of a fire breaking out at a Ukrainian nuclear plant.
And, FYI, that plant is responsible for more than 20% of the total electricity generated in Ukraine.
The fire broke out today (4 March) at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after Russian troops attacked the plant, but thankfully the power plant is now safe according to updates by Ukrainian authorities.
According to the Facebook update by Ukraine’s emergency services, “As of (5.20am local time) at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar, State Emergency Service units went to put out the fire in the training building.”
They had done so by employing the help of 40 people and 10 vehicles.
Head of military administration of the Zaporizhzhia region Oleksandr Starukh also took to Facebook to announce that the plant was now safe, and that “a training building and a laboratory were affected by the fire”.
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The world was first informed of news about the attack due to how the mayor of Energodar, a town close to the Zaporizhzhia plant, posted about “heavy fighting” in the area.
For those who aren’t aware, Energodar is around 550km southeast of Kyiv.
Mayor Dymtro Orlov took to his Telegram channel to announce, “As a result of continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire.”
And he wasn’t the only political figure who aired his grievances on social media.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted on Twitter, urging the Russians to let firefighters put out the fire by writing, “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
“Fire has already broke out … Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”
He emphasised further, “If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the agency was “aware of reports of shelling” at the power plant. It confirmed through Twitter as well that it had gotten in touch with Ukrainian authorities, and that they were trying to settle the issue.
“Ukraine tells IAEA that fire … has not affected ‘essential’ equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions,” the IAEA clarified.
Apparently, Ukraine’s regulator also mentioned to IAEA that there was “no change” observed in terms of radiation levels at the power plant.
Response from World Leaders
“No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units. This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented in a video message.
“If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe. This is the evacuation of Europe. Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops.”
He also brought up the idea of Moscow wanting to “repeat” Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster ever known to mankind.
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Over in the US, the White House also released a statement from President Joe Biden. After Zelenskyy informed Biden about the fire, Biden joined Zelenskyy in “urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site” through the statement.
The statement also revealed that the US Energy Department’s undersecretary for nuclear security had also updated the US President with regards to the current situation surrounding the plant.
According to a Biden administration official, there is “no current indication of elevated radiation levels at the plant”.
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