Washington: The US Department of Energy has activated its nuclear response team following the attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.
In a tweet, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said, “I just spoke with Ukraine’s energy minister about the situation at the Zaphorizhizia nuclear plant. Russian military operations near the plant are reckless and must cease.
“@ENERGY has activated its Nuclear Incident Response Team and is monitoring events in consultation with @DeptofDefense @NRCgov and the White House. We have seen no elevated radiation readings near the facility,” she said.
“The plant’s reactors are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down,” she added.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy as the White House continues to monitor the reported fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.
A fire had broken out at the nuclear plant in the wee hours of Friday as Russian forces attacked “from all sides,” with firefighters unable to reach the site.
Later, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that there was no change in the radiation levels at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
Earlier, Minister of Foriegn Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”
The Mayor of the nearby town of Energodar Dmytro Orlov also confirmed the fire breakout.
“A threat to world security!!! As a result of relentless shelling by the enemy of the buildings and blocks of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire!!!”, he wrote in a social media post.
“I demand, stop! Immediately stop shelling the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant point blank,” the mayor said in a video message as reported by CNN. In an earlier post he wrote: “Stop shelling the Zaporizhzhia power plant.”
The Mayor further confirmed that firefighters are unable to reach the location of the fire. “The Zaporizhzhia Power Plant is notifying of a threat at the first block of the power plant! The fire at the plant is continuing. The firefighters cannot reach the location of the fire,” he said in a post.
“Intense fighting is ongoing on approach routes to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Our National Guard fighters are defending. There are victims, but the exact number and condition so far cannot be determined under the circumstances”, he added.
India Blooms News Service