BREAKING: Radiation levels are ‘normal’ says Ukrainian president after fire near nuclear plant


A fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the largest of its kind in Europe, broke out in a training building outside the plant’s perimeter after an attack by Russian troops, the state emergency service said in a statement on Friday.

An official in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said the reactors have not been damaged and radiation levels are normal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to not being authorized to speak publicly.

The plant’s director also told Ukraine 24 television that radiation security had been secured at the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported it had been informed by Ukraine’s regulator that there was no change in radiation levels at the plant.

Earlier, Russian forces shelled the plant in the battle for control of the crucial energy-producing city of Enerhodar, and the power station was on fire.

Plant spokesperson Andriy Tuz told Ukrainian television that shells were falling directly on the Zaporizhzhia plant and had set fire to one of the facility’s six reactors. That reactor is under renovation and not operating, but there is nuclear fuel inside, he said.

Firefighters could not get near the fire because they were being shot at, Tuz said.

Ukraine’s foreign minister warned that if the plant explodes, it will be 10 times worse than the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, when a reactor went into meltdown and sent nearly 10 tonnes of radioactive material into the atmosphere and surrounding regions about 100 kilometres north of Kyiv. Two workers were killed immediately and another 30 died within weeks from radiation exposure.

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