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Ukraine destroys crucial sensors near Europe’s largest nuclear plant – officials

Kiev continues to carry out reckless attacks around the Zaporozhye NPP, staff at the facility have said

The Ukrainian military has shelled a radiation monitoring station near the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the largest such facility in Europe, officials at the Russian facility reported on Wednesday.

The attack targeted a monitoring station in Velikaya Znamenka, a village around 15km west of the nuclear facility. It was “totally destroyed” by Ukrainian artillery fire, according to a statement from Russian officials on social media. The statement included photos of the burned-out equipment box.

Located in the city of Energodar, the Zaporozhye nuclear plant has a network of sensors, known as the ‘Koltso’ (Ring), on a 30km radius that monitors for possible radiation leaks. The system was upgraded several years ago.

Plant workers have taken measures to maintain the monitoring regime, the statement said, adding that no spikes in radiation levels have been detected.

Russia has been in control of the Zaporozhye NPP since the early weeks of the hostilities with Ukraine. Officials in Energodar reported several Ukrainian attacks on its key infrastructure last week, in which two transformer substations were damaged.

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IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.
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The attacks have disrupted electricity supplies to some of the power plant’s facilities and posed a threat to its personnel, according to its management. Ukrainian actions “may affect nuclear safety,” a statement released last Saturday said.

Kiev considers the Zaporozhye station to be illegally occupied and has accused Russia of using it for military purposes – allegation Moscow has denied. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), maintains an observer mission at the site, but declines to attribute blame for any attacks affecting the station.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said last week. “Drone usage against the plant and its vicinity is becoming increasingly more frequent. This is completely unacceptable and it runs counter to the safety pillars and concrete principles which have been accepted unanimously.”

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The IAEA noted that the disruption of power had affected the radiological monitoring stations. The sensor network went offline for some time after backup batteries ran out, and went back online again after power was restored.

June 26, 2024 at 02:40PM

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