Russian shelling caused a fire at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant – how close did we actually come to disaster?


Tony Irwin, Australian National University

It sounds like a nightmare come true. During a military offensive as part of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fire broke out at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhia power plant in the southern city of Enerhodar.

From what we understand of the situation, Russian troops were shelling the area during a battle for control of the facility, which supplies 25% of Ukraine’s electricity.

The plant has six large 950-megawatt reactors, built between 1980 and 1986 – crucially to a different design to the notorious and now decommissioned Chernobyl power station.

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