Authorities distributed iodine tablets to residents living near the nuclear plant in the event of a radioactive leak.
Ukraine’s state energy operator says there is a risk of radiation leakage at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest nuclear facility in Europe and is currently occupied by the Russian military.
Energoatom said on Saturday that Russian forces had “repeatedly shelled” the site in southern Ukraine over the past day, while the Russian Defense Ministry countered by accusing Ukrainian forces of carrying out attacks. enter the factory.
“As a result of periodic shelling, the station’s infrastructure has been damaged, there is a risk of hydrogen leakage and radioactive material splashing, and the risk of fire is very high,” Energoatom said. on Telegram.
The agency said at midday on Saturday (09:00 GMT) the plant was “operating at the risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards”.
Authorities began distributing iodine tablets on Friday to residents living near the plant in the event of a radioactive leak.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had shell of a nuclear facility in the last 24 hours.
“A total of 17 shells were fired, four hitting the roof of Special Building No. 1, which houses 168 US Westinghouse nuclear fuel complexes,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said 10 shells exploded near a dry spent nuclear fuel depot and three more near a building containing new nuclear fuel.
It said the radioactive situation at the plant was still normal.
Reuters could not verify the battlefield report.
Recent satellite images from Planet Labs show fires burning around the Zaporizhzhia complex over the past few days.
Kyiv and Moscow have for months been accused of shelling in the vicinity of the complex, located in the city of Enerhodar.
Regional authorities also said on Saturday that Russian forces had fired missiles and artillery at Ukrainian-administered areas across the river from the plant.
Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, said Grad missiles and shells hit the cities of Nikopol and Marhanets, about 10 kilometers (six miles) each, and crossed the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia plant.
The Zaporizhzhia facility was captured by Russian troops in the early weeks of Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine, and the site has remained on the front lines of fighting ever since.
Ukrainian employees continue to operate the plant and in recent weeks both sides have blamed shelling near the plant.
On Thursday, the power station was cut off from Ukraine’s national grid for the first time in its four-decade history due to “acts of aggressors,” Energoatom said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the power cut was caused by Russian shelling on the last functioning power line connecting the plant to the grid.
Power from the national grid was returned to the plant on Friday afternoon, but Zelenskyy warned that “worst case scenario… is repeatedly provoked by Russian forces”.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is urging a mission to the plant “as soon as possible to help stabilize the nuclear safety and security situation there”.
Officials said preparations for the visit were underway, but it was unclear when it might take place.
Ukraine claims Russia is using the power plant as a shield by storing weapons there and launching attacks from around it.
For its part, Moscow accused Ukraine of recklessly firing at targets around the nuclear complex.