Surveillance camera footage shows a flare landing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant | Photo courtesy: Reuters

The war in Ukraine has reached the nuclear power plants with Russian troops making attempts to take over these nuclear sites. The attacks to take control of these nuclear power plants have raised worldwide concern.

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Ukraine has 15 nuclear power units (13.8 GW) at four nuclear power plants: Rivne, Khmelnitskiy, South Ukraine and Zaporizhzhia, the largest one in Europe.

In a virtual address to thousands of protesters across major European cities, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that if his country fell to Russia in the ongoing war, then the whole continent of Europe will fall.

In his address via video link, Zelensky said: “Don’t be silent. Go out onto the streets. Support Ukraine. Support our freedom. This would be a victory not only over Russian troops, it would be a victory of light over darkness. A victory of good over evil. A victory of freedom over what is happening now, here, on Ukrainian land.”

He added that if there is a nuclear disaster, the whole of Europe will face consequences.

So far, the Russian troops have taken over the closed nuclear power plant at Chernobyl and the active nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia, situated on the banks of the Dnieper River, in the city of Enerhodar.

On March 4, after intense fighting at Zaporizhzhia, Russia claimed that its troops have taken control of the nuclear power plant. The fighting caused a fire at the nuclear site which was eventually doused by the Ukrainian authorities.

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The fire which began after Russian shelling was extinguished and the radiation levels remain unchanged, though several units of the facility have been damaged.

Ukraine’s nuclear regulator said that Russian military forces seized the plant on March 4 morning but the plant’s staff is continuing to ensure its operations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the fire had not affected essential equipment and that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reported no change in radiation levels.

In a tweet, the IAEA said: “Ukraine informed IAEA that Russian forces took control of the site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant; says safety systems of the plant’s six reactors had not been affected and there has been no release of radioactive material. Two people reported injured.”

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