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Ukrainian authorities have said a fire that broke out at a nuclear power plant on Friday morning amid heavy shelling by Russian forces has now been extinguished.
Here is what happened :
When did the fire break out? Ukrainian authorities announced around 2:30 a.m. local time on Friday that a fire broke out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in Enerhodar, in southeastern Ukraine. The plant is the largest of its kind in Ukraine and contains six of the country’s 15 nuclear reactors, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
When did the fire stop? Ukraine’s state emergency service said the fire in the factory’s training building was extinguished by 6:20 a.m. No deaths or injuries were reported, the statement said.
Are they still fighting? Fighting has since ceased in the area, a spokesperson for the powerhouse told CNN. In a Facebook post on Friday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of intentionally firing on the nuclear power plant and urged European leaders to “wake up now” and stop Russian forces “before it happens.” becomes a nuclear disaster”.
How serious is the situation? It’s hard to say because there’s still a lot we don’t know. But the plant has suffered no “critical” damage, the facility’s spokesperson said. The fire did not affect any “essential” equipment and staff are taking steps to mitigate the damage, the IAEA said, citing Ukrainian authorities.
Are there radiation peaks? No – nuclear regulators and government agencies in the United States and Ukraine say radiation levels appear normal.
What are the risks ? The worst-case scenario would be for a fire or attack to reach the reactors, disrupt their cooling system and cause a meltdown, which would release large amounts of radioactivity. However, Graham Allison, a professor at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, told CNN on Friday that “not every fire at a power plant has catastrophic consequences.”