The UN’s nuclear agency seeks access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine after satellite images reveal suspicious objects on the roof. Ukrainian claims of Russian troop involvement in planting explosives have raised concerns about a potential nuclear accident. Speculation intensifies as fears grow that the objects on the roof could trigger a catastrophic explosion, releasing a radioactive cloud over Ukraine and Europe.
Recent satellite images captured circular objects on the roof of one of the plant’s reactors, indicating that they were placed there during the conflict. However, the nature of these objects remains unclear from the images alone.
Ukraine warns of a possible detonation of explosives by Russia to instigate a nuclear incident in Zaporizhzhia, while Moscow accuses Kyiv’s forces of planning a sabotage operation to discredit Russian troops. This comes in the wake of the devastating explosions at the Nova Kakhovka dam, causing widespread flooding and displacing tens of thousands of people.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is working to assess the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant but faces limited access granted by Russian troops. Director General Rafael Grossi expresses optimism about gaining permission to investigate the rooftops, emphasizing the urgency given the active warzone. The IAEA has repeatedly warned about the risk of a radiation catastrophe similar to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky alleges that Russian troops have placed objects resembling explosives on the roofs of several power units at Zaporizhzhia, potentially simulating an attack. However, the IAEA confirms that the areas were not mined, although they cannot identify the latest objects on the power plant’s roof.
The atmosphere in Zaporizhzhia remains tense as reports of potential mining at the plant circulate. Authorities have conducted anti-radiation drills and are prepared for a potential radiation leak. The city’s residents, aware of the gravity of the situation, fear the worst due to past experiences with Russian aggression.
With memories of the Chernobyl disaster still haunting Ukraine, preparations for the worst-case scenario are underway. Authorities conducted drills to simulate the mass evacuation of approximately 138,000 people within a 30-mile radius of the plant. Olena Zhuk, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s regional council, expresses concerns about the major threat posed by a nuclear incident and believes Russia may stage an incident to justify their withdrawal.
As tensions escalate between Ukraine and Russia, both sides accuse each other of plotting sabotage. Ukraine’s health ministry advises the public to follow evacuation orders in case of an explosion. The situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant remains critical, and international attention is focused on preventing a potential nuclear disaster.