Ukraine nuclear emergency fears: Cloud of black smoke erupts after explosion rocks plant

Video footage published by Russian news agency RIA Novosti shows thick black smoke rising in the distance above a scene of destruction. This is reportedly located in Enerhodar, Ukraine.

The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, located in currently Russian-controlled land, is understood to be the largest plant in Europe.

It is also among the largest 10 in the world.

The plant contains six reactors (almost half of Ukraine’s total of 15) and can create enough energy for four million homes.

The proximity of the smoke’s source to the power plant is currently unclear.

Concerns over the potential of a nuclear emergency following a potential strike have been rife since Russian forces first took control of Enerhodar in March.

France24 reported in May that there are global fears of a “potential atomic disaster”.

Valery Vasilyev, a major general with Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops, told reporters that the situation was well under control.

He said: “The Zaporizhzhia NPP is operating normally, in compliance with all nuclear, radiation and environmental safety standards.”

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The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, stressed that it was “extremely important” the International Atomic Energy Agency was allowed to monitor the situation.

Earlier this month, Russian military officials turned the finger of blame for any potential disaster and stressed that Ukrainian strikes could cause a problem.

The Russian regional military-civilian administration for Energodar told Russian news agency TASS: “[We confirm] that the Ukrainian forces continue massive shelling of the city of Energodar today…

“Explosions occur in direct proximity of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which creates a threat of emergency situations, including a man-made disaster.

“The military-civilian administration categorically condemns the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who endangers not only Ukraine, but the entire of Europe, should such disaster involve engineering or other infrastructure of the station.”

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