Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant: where is it on Ukraine map, blast radius and how dangerous is situation?
There are fear that a major blast at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could create a crisis larger than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986
A UN nuclear chief has says that the “physical integrity” of Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant has been “violated”.
The comments come after a team of inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was able to visit the Russian-controlled site for the first time as assess the damage to the power plant.
Rafael Grossi, head of the IAEA, said: “It is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times.”
Russian forces have controlled the structure since 12 March 2022, with Ukraine’s nuclear power company saying that Russia is using the building as a base to launch attacks in the region.
It comes after Russian and Ukrainian forces were accused of shelling the site, with fears that damage to the nuclear power plant could create a larger crisis than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
A Russian attack has also taken place in the town of Nikopol, which is located across the Dnipro River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, with three Ukrainian civilians and 23 other wounded in the space of 24 hours.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on tougher sanctions against Russia to prevent a nuclear disaster, while The Kremlin have blamed Ukraine for attacks on the site.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Where is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located?
The nuclear power plant is situated in the city of Zaporizhzhia, located in Oblast region of southern Ukaine.
It was built on the outskirts of the city, around 77 miles from the centre of Zaporizhzhia.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on the banks of the Dnipro River - on the shore of the Kakhovka Resevoir.
The city of Nikopol is only across the river.
The plant is still in operation, with Ukrainian staff operating under control of the Russian nuclear power company Rosatom.
What is the blast radius of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant?
The power plant is the largest nuclear plant in Ukraine and the 10th largest in the world.
Zaporizhzhia has six nuclear reactors, compared to Chernobyl’s four reactors, with a disaster expected if these reactors are damaged.
It is believed by nuclear experts that if a disaster were to occur at Zaporizhzhia, it could be 10 times larger than that seen in the Chernobyl 1986 disaster.
How dangerous is the situation?
In his nightly address to Ukrainians, Mr Zelensky claimed that Russia has been shelling the plant as “blackmail” against Ukraine.
He said: “We are actively informing the world about Russian nuclear blackmail – about the shelling and mining of the Zaporizhzhia NPP (nuclear power plant) facilities.
“Russia will not pay attention to words and concerns … The Chernobyl disaster is an explosion in one reactor; the Zaporizhzhia NPP is six power units.
“There is no such nation in the world that could feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant.”
Ukraine has refuted claimed that it has been attacking the power plant, with Ptero Kotin of Ukrainian nuclear power company Energhoatom, saying: “They [Russian forces] use it like a shield against the Ukrainian forces, because nobody from Ukraine is going to do something.
“The Ukrainian Armed Forces know that these are Ukrainian personnel and this is a Ukrainian plant and there are Ukrainian people so we aren’t going to kill our people, our staff and damage our infrastructure.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonia Guterres called the Russia’s alleged treatement of the site “nuclear terrorism”.
However, Russia has also refused claims that forces are purposefully attacking the power plant.