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Ukraine warns of risk of nuclear disaster at Zaporizhzhia plant

The Russian Defense Ministry says it is considering closing the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, prompting a warning from the Ukrainian state nuclear agency that doing so would pose a risk of disaster.

The “negative evolution” of the plant could force Russia to consider the possibility of “placing the 5th and 6th plants” in the ‘cold reserve’, which would lead to the “closure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant”, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Thursday (18), blaming Ukraine for bombing the site. Ukrainian authorities have refuted the allegations, accusing Russia of being behind the attacks that damaged the complex.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power company, said the prospect of closing the plant would bring “the scenario of a radiation disaster closer”.

“Due to the disconnection of the generators at the nuclear power plant [Zaporizhzhia] of the Ukrainian electrical system, they will not be able to be used for their own fuel cooling needs in the event of a power outage at the plant,” Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram on Thursday. “This will approach the possible scenario of a radiological catastrophe at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

The plant is the focus of growing global concern after weeks of increased bombing raids prompted calls from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for experts to visit the facility and raised fears of a potential nuclear accident.

Both sides tried to single out the other for the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The Ukrainian bombing damaged auxiliary support systems such as swimming pools and other equipment that keep the reactors cool, according to the ministry, which accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out 12 attacks on the facilities using more than 50 rockets, artillery and five kamikaze drones.

Ukraine has consistently denied the allegations and blamed Russia for bombing the plant, as well as using it as a shield to fire at Ukrainian positions in Nikopol, on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River. Russia also denied the Ukrainian allegations.

“We are ready to send the IAEA real high resolution images proving that weapons, especially heavy ones, are not placed on the territory of this station,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“We know that in the presence of a large number of foreign military and commercial satellites, the same information can be presented to the world from the US side,” he added.

THE CNN cannot independently verify Ukrainian or Russian allegations about the attacks and the placement of heavy military equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

THE CNN has contacted commercial satellite imagery operators to verify Russian claims but has yet to receive a response.

Source: CNN Brasil

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