Ukraine says worker wounded in new Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant


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KYIV — Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said on Sunday a worker was wounded and radiation monitoring sensors were damaged when Russian forces renewed their shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, on Saturday night.

The plant was also shelled on Friday, and Russia again blamed Ukraine for the fresh incident.

On Saturday evening, Russian rocket attacks hit the site of the plant’s dry storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel are stored in the open air, Energoatom said on the Telegram messaging app.

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“Three radiation monitoring sensors around the site of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant were damaged. Consequently, timely detection and response in the event of a deterioration in the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from containers of spent nuclear fuel are not yet possible,” the agency said.

It added that one plant worker was wounded by shrapnel and was taken to hospital.

Shells had hit a high-voltage power line on Friday at the facility, prompting its operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected. The Zaporizhzhia plant was captured by Russian forces in early March in the opening stage of the war but it is still run by its Ukrainian technicians.

Russia again blamed Ukraine for the shelling on Saturday evening.

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“Overnight Ukrainian armed formations launched a strike using a 220-mm Uragan multiple rocket launcher system rocket. The administrative buildings and the adjacent territory of the storage facility were damaged,” said a statement issued by the Russian-installed administration of Enerhodar carried by Interfax news agency.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had raised grave concerns on Saturday about Friday’s shelling, saying the action showed the risk of a nuclear disaster.

Both sides accused each other of engaging in “nuclear terrorism” after Friday’s incident. Ukraine’s Energoatom blamed Russia for the Friday shelling, damage while Russia’s defense ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets Editing by Hugh Lawson and Frances Kerry)

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