Ukrainians near blitzed nuke plant told to evacuate NOW as intense fighting 'risks radiation leak across Europe' | The Sun

UKRAINIANS near Europe's biggest nuke plant have been urged to evacuate the area amid mounting fears of a radiation leak.

Fighting has intensified in the region near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station leading officials to issue a warning to residents.

Last week leaked footage from the nuclear power plant showed Russian Z trucks parked up just metres from the plant's reactors.

Kyiv said that Russian forces fired rockets and heavy artillery into the town of Nikopol- the main town serving the nuke plant.

Mykola Lukashuk, the head of the Dnipro region council, said on Telegram: "The occupiers are deliberately shelling civilian objects in order to terrorize the population."

The continuous shelling has sparked fears of a Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster leading Ukraine to call residents of the Russian-occupied areas around the plant to evacuate for their safety.


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The country's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged those living near the plant to evacuate.

She wrote on Telegram: "I appeal to the residents of the districts adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant …. evacuate!

"Find a way to get to (Ukrainian) controlled territory".

The calls for evacuation come after Kyiv's warning it might need to shut down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station to avoid a nuclear catastrophe.

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Oleh Korikov, acting head of Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate, told a news briefing "The option of switching off the station is being assessed if conditions necessitating the station to be switched off arise.

Shutting down the six-reactor nuclear plant has also consequences- if the reactors don't have constant coolant circulating around them it can lead to a meltdown of the plant which would essentially cause massive explosions.

Korikov said the facility was supplying its own electricity needs, but that backup diesel generators would have to be fired up if it remained disconnected.

He added: "We could potentially reach a situation where the diesel runs out, which would cause an accident involving the damage of the active zones of the reactors, which would cause the expulsion of radioactive substances into the environment.

"This would have consequences not only for the territory of Ukraine but also cross-border consequences.

A report by UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released on Tuesday branded the situation in Zaporizhzhia "unsustainable" and warned that heavy shelling near the facility could cause the "unlimited release" of radiation.

The report listed some of the damages inspectors observed during their mission to the plant.

It said IAEA is "still gravely concerned about the situation at the ZNPP" and called for the creation of a security zone around the plant.

The report read: "There is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means.

"This can be achieved by the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone.

"The IAEA recommends that shelling on site and in its vicinity should be stopped immediately to avoid any further damages to the plant and associated facilities."

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the first step would be to cease all military operations in the area.

He continued: "As a second step, an agreement on a demilitarized perimeter should be secured.

"Specifically, that will include the commitment by Russian forces to withdraw military personnel and equipment from that perimeter and the commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move in."

Previously the head of IAEA Rafael Grossi who visited the plant warned of a very real risk of nuclear disaster.

He said: "It is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant has been violated several times"

"Today we were able, in these few hours, to gather a lot of information. The key things I needed to see I saw, and their explanations were very clear"

"I am worried, I worry and I will continue to be worried about the plant."

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The nuclear power plant was disconnected from the power grid for the first time last month.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear agency which operates the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), said it was forced to close down a reactor shortly before the UN team arrived on site.

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