A fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant ignited by Russian shelling has been extinguished, Ukrainian authorities said Friday, and Russian forces have taken control of the site.
“The Zaporizhzhia NPP site has been seized by the military forces of the Russian Federation,” Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said in a statement Friday.
Ukraine’s state nuclear regulator said that no changes in radiation levels have been recorded so far. It said staff are studying the site to check for other damage to the compartment of reactor No. 1 at the Zaporizhzhia plant in the city of Enerhodar.
The regulator noted in a statement on Facebook the importance of maintaining the ability to cool nuclear fuel, saying the loss of such ability could lead to an accident even worse than 1986 Chernobyl accident, the world’s worst nuclear disaster, or the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns in Japan. It also noted that there is a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the site, though there was no sign that facility was hit by shelling.