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IAEA informed of alleged drone strike on occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant area, one substation out of service

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 4, 2024 2:53 PM 2 min read
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, as seen on Sept. 11, 2022. (Stringer / AFP via Getty Images)
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Drones allegedly struck the vicinity of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on July 3, citing the administration of the occupied facility.

"It is extremely concerning that these drone attacks are continuing, despite the very clear dangers they present to people in Enerhodar as well as to safety at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. They must stop immediately," IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said.

Ukraine's nuclear energy agency, Energoatom, has not commented on claims provided to the IAEA by the occupied plant's administration. It has dismissed earlier allegations of Ukrainian attacks in the facility's vicinity as Russian propaganda.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe's largest nuclear power station, has been under Russian occupation since March 2022.

IAEA monitoring teams have been based at the nuclear plant on rotation since September 2022, but Russian authorities still deny IAEA inspectors full access to the plant.

IAEA experts stationed at the plant said that they saw thick smoke rising near the facility and heard explosions after they were told by the representatives of the Russian-occupied plant of an alleged drone attack.

The strike caused a fire in the forests nearby, and eight workers were injured, the representatives of the Russian-occupied plant told the IAEA.

The attack affected one of the electrical substations, Raduga. It was reportedly out of service as of July 3, but the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar was receiving electricity despite the damage to the plant, according to the statement.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Moscow of using the plant as a launch site for drone and artillery attacks on the Ukrainian-controlled opposite bank of the Dnipro River, leading to heightened nuclear safety risks.

Throughout its occupation, the plant has been repeatedly disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid due to Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure.

Shelling and fires near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant recently destroyed an external radiation monitoring station, the IAEA reported on June 27.

IAEA inspectors said they were unable to visit the off-site monitoring station to confirm the reported damage due to ongoing fighting in the area.

Energoatom said in May that the plant should be handed over to Ukrainian control to avoid a nuclear disaster.

Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant costs Ukraine over $5 billion
Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency Energoatom has lost over Hr 210 billion ($5.2 billion) due to Russia’s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom’s acting head Petro Kotin said on June 18.

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