News ID: 323438
Published: 0325 GMT August 12, 2022

World fears another Chernobyl

World fears another Chernobyl
REUTERS

International Desk

In the midst of the Ukraine war and all of its humanitarian consequences for both sides, and economic consequences for the world, a new bigger concern has emerged: The rising possibility of a nuclear accident similar to that of Chernobyl.

Following the recent rocket attack targeting the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, concerns for another nuclear accident are heightened.

The biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia fell into Russian hands in March, but it is still operating with the help of its Ukrainian staff. Both Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the shelling of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday.

Sounding the warning on the outcomes of continuing such attacks, Moscow requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue. On Friday, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi called for creating a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia plant.

“There is no immediate threat to the safety of the nuclear site based on a preliminary assessment,” said Grossi, adding, however, that this could change at any moment. As such, Grossi insisted that the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission in Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoed Grossi’s call for demilitarization in a statement urging the withdrawal of the Russian military personnel and equipment from the plant and the avoidance of any further deployment of forces or equipment to the site.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya maintained that Ukraine had delivered several strikes on the nuclear plant’s premises, using heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems. The deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, accused the Ukrainian authorities and the West of an attempt to stage a Chernobyl-like disaster at Zaporizhzhia.

In turn, the Ukrainian representative emphasized, “Only a full withdrawal of the Russians and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee a resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe.”

While the American representative fanned the flames by blaming Russia, China’s ambassador, who holds the presidency of the UN Security Council, called on the parties concerned to exercise restraint and refrain from any action that may compromise nuclear safety and security.

With no clear end to the Ukraine war in sight, the possibility of recurring attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is a growing concern for the world. To alleviate the concern, both warring sides and their supporters need to take on more responsibility.

 

 

   
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