After one in the morning, the Russian bombs began to fall on the Zaporiya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, ten times larger and more powerful than Chernobyl. Four hours later, firefighters managed to put out the fire in a building next to the reactors, but the fear of a nuclear disaster has been inevitable and has caused many inhabitants of the area flee for fear of a nuclear catastrophe.
“We are in panic, there is no safe place”Katerina tells TVE as she packs her things before leaving with her sister and her pets in the area.
A fear shared by many other Ukrainians and that has led many residents of Zaporizhia to crowd the platforms of the city’s train station. And they just want to take their families to a Russian place.
“Russian occupiers, I will never forgive you for this,” tells a man at the station before accompanying his children to the west of the country to later return to fight against the invading Russian troops, he says. His wife confesses that until the bombing of the area near the plant she had not thought about leaving, but that the latest news about her has made her change her mind.
As his partner assures that as soon as he finds a safe place for his children, he will return to fight against Russia.
Nuclear power plants, key to Russian strategy
The attack on the nuclear power plant has horrified everyone. “The occupants have not allowed us to act until three hours after the attack”says the head of the emergency services.
Ukraine maintains operational 15 nuclear reactors at four plants. Zaporizhia is the largest, with six reactors. Since this Friday it is under the control of the Russian Army. Also Chernobyl, completely switched off.
“They are at war and that is one of the keys to being able to win, to take away the rival’s electricity supply,” points out the director of ‘The Energy Newspaper’, Ramón Roca.
With these movements, Moscow seeks, according to analysts, to seize these infrastructures from Kiev. Although they reassure by assuring that a direct attack would not cause the reactor to explode.
“In principle, they are crash-proof for airplanes and everything. To damage it, they would have to be very powerful missiles,” points out the nuclear engineer and professor at the Polytechnic University of Barcelona, Jordi Freixa.
And if they hit, they insist, the destruction would be partial. “If you destroy the safety and cooling mechanisms of the reactor you can enter a more Fukushima-type accidental situation.more than the situation that occurred in Chernobyl”, adds Freixa.
Security systems have not been damaged
At the moment the Russian attack on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has not damaged the safety systems of the reactors nor has it caused radioactive leaks, according to the international nuclear safety agency. The situation is “fragile and extremely unstable”which is why he has called Russia and Ukraine to a meeting in Chernobyl.
That is why he summons Russia and Ukraine to a meeting in Chernobyl, where the greatest nuclear tragedy in history took place, he wants them to commit to guaranteeing the integrity of all Ukrainian plants, their security systems and their personnel. And that they exchange information at all times.
Russia, a member of this body, says it supports these principles, but the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Rossi, regrets that the “physical integrity” of the plant has been “compromised” with what happened .