Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor damaged following drone attack

By Mia Alberti and Josh Pennington, CNN

CNN  —  The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine was damaged Sunday in a drone attack, the International Atomic Energy Agency said, calling the strike “a serious incident (with) potential to undermine integrity of the reactor’s containment system.”

In a statement posted to X, the IAEA stressed that the damage at the Russian-controlled facility “has not compromised nuclear safety.”

The drone attack included three direct hits against the facility’s main reactor containment, the agency’s director-general, Rafael Grossi, said on X. One person died as a result of the attack, he added.

“This is a clear violation of the basic principles for protecting Europe’s largest (nuclear power plant). Such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident and must cease immediately,” Grossi said.

Russian authorities accused the Ukrainian military of carrying out a series of attacks against the plant using “self-exploding” drones, according to a statement posted on ZNPP’s official Telegram channel.

A truck unloading food was damaged, and another hit was registered in the cargo port area of the facility, according to the ZNPP statement.

“Shelling of Zaporizhzhia NPP and its infrastructure is unacceptable. No nuclear power plant in the world is designed to withstand full-fledged fire from the armed forces.
Damage to infrastructure facilities may affect the safe operation of the NPP,” the statement added, using an acronym for the nuclear power plant.

Following Russia’s accusations, Ukraine denied any involvement in the attack, the spokesperson for the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, Andriy Yusov, told Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda.

“The aggressor state is once again endangering the nuclear facility, civilians and the environment of the whole of Europe,” Yusov said, according to Ukrayinska Pravda.

CNN cannot independently verify Russia’s or Ukraine’s claims.

“No one can conceivably benefit or get any military or political advantage from attacks against nuclear facilities. This is a no go. I firmly appeal to military decision makers to abstain from any action violating the basic principles that protect nuclear facilities,” Grossi said.

CNN has reached out to Energoatom, Ukraine’s largest power producer, and to the Ukrainian Armed Forces for comment.

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