The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says attacks on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant significantly increase the risk of accidents

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The head of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency on Sunday condemned a drone strike on one of six nuclear reactors at the Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine, saying such attacks “are dramatically increasing… “The risk of a major catastrophe occurring.” “Nuclear accident.”

In a statement on the social media platform X, Rafael Mariano Grossi It confirmed at least three direct strikes against the containment structures of the ZNPP main reactor. “This cannot happen,” he said.

He said this is the first attack of its kind since November 2022, when he identified five basic principles to avoid a serious nuclear accident with radiological consequences.

The site was attacked on Sunday by Ukrainian military drones, including a strike on the dome of the station's sixth power unit, station officials said.

According to station authorities, there was no serious damage or injuries, and radiation levels at the station were normal after the strikes. However, later on Sunday, Russia's state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom said three people were injured in an “unprecedented series of drone attacks,” specifically when a drone struck an area near the site's canteen.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Sunday that its experts had been informed of the drone attack and that “such an explosion is consistent with the IAEA’s observations.”

In a separate statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the physical impact of the drone attacks on the plant, including one of its six reactors. She added that one infection had been reported.

She added, “The damage to Unit 6 did not jeopardize nuclear safety, but this is a serious accident that would undermine the safety of the reactor's containment system.”

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The power plant has been in the crossfire since Moscow Sent troops to Ukraine in 2022 and took over the facility shortly after. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly expressed its concern about the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, amid fears of a possible nuclear disaster. Ukraine and Russia regularly exchanged accusations of attacking the factory, which remains close to the front lines.

The plant's six reactors have been shut down for months, but still need power and qualified personnel to operate critical cooling systems and other safety features.

Regional Governor Ivan Fedorov said three people were killed also on Sunday when their house was hit by a Russian shell in the frontline town of Hollyopol in Ukraine's partially occupied southeastern Zaporozhye region. Later on Sunday, two people were injured in another bombing of Huliápool.

Separately, three people were injured in Russian bombing in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, according to the region's governor, Oleh Sinyhopov.

In Russia, a girl died and four other people were injured when debris from a Ukrainian drone fell on a car carrying a family of six people in Russia. Belgorod region, Russia On the border with Ukraine, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

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