NEWS: RUSSIA IN WAR
Russia takes control of the biggest nuclear plant in Europe after bombing.

A fire broke out at the Zapor­izhzhia nuclear pow­er plant — Europe’s largest — and Ukraine said it had been bombed by Russ­ian troops.

Author­i­ties say the facil­i­ty is now safe and radi­a­tion lev­els are normal.

World lead­ers have accused Rus­sia of endan­ger­ing the secu­ri­ty of an entire con­ti­nent, and the Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent has accused Rus­sia of “nuclear terror.”

U.S. Pres­i­dent Joe Biden urged Moscow to stop its mil­i­tary activ­i­ties around the site, while Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said Rus­si­a’s “hor­rif­ic attacks” “must stop immediately.”

British Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son said the “reck­less” attack could “direct­ly threat­en the secu­ri­ty of all of Europe.” The three lead­ers spoke by phone with Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zelen­sky, mean­while, said Rus­sia want­ed a repeat of Cher­nobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear dis­as­ter in 1986.

“If there is an explo­sion, it’s the end of every­thing. The end of Europe,” he said.

The Russ­ian Defense Min­istry blamed the attack on Ukrain­ian sabo­teurs, call­ing it a “mon­strous provo­ca­tion” with­out pro­vid­ing evidence.

A video feed from the nuclear plant showed explo­sions light­ing up the night sky and send­ing up plumes of smoke.

Accord­ing to the Ukrain­ian nuclear inspec­torate, build­ings around one of the plan­t’s six pow­er units were dam­aged with­out affect­ing its safety.

Plant work­ers said the fire — which has since been extin­guished — broke out in a train­ing build­ing out­side the plan­t’s perime­ter and that only one of the plan­t’s six reac­tors was operational.

A res­i­dent who lives near­by said he saw the Russ­ian mil­i­tary attack the site. “This is just ter­ror­ism… It’s wor­ry­ing not only for our region, but for Ukraine and for the world,” Kir­ill Dovzhik told the BBC.

The U.N. nuclear watch­dog, the Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency (IAEA), said the fire did not affect “essen­tial” equip­ment at the plant and that there was no increase in radi­a­tion levels.

But the IAEA said it was in “full 24/7 response mode” due to the “seri­ous sit­u­a­tion” at the pow­er plant.

Ukrain­ian emer­gency ser­vices said they were ini­tial­ly pre­vent­ed from going to the fire site, prompt­ing Pres­i­dent Biden to pub­licly call on Rus­sia to allow fire­fight­ers to enter the site.

Boris John­son said he would call for an emer­gency meet­ing of the U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil on Fri­day over the attack.

Map of nuclear pow­er plants in Ukraine
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Experts said the attack on a nuclear plant was unprece­dent­ed and the sit­u­a­tion was still very dangerous.

Dr. Gra­ham Alli­son, a nuclear safe­ty expert at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty, said the “worst case sce­nario” would be if a fire at the plant caused a melt­down and result­ed in a release of radioac­tiv­i­ty that con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed the sur­round­ing area for years.

But he also said it was more like­ly that Russ­ian forces were try­ing to “cut off the elec­tric­i­ty supply.

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