Ukraine says Russia attacks Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, reactors undamaged

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KYIV (Reuters) -Russian forces attacked the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region early Monday, but the reactors were not damaged and are operating normally, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear company Energoatom said.

Shortly after midnight, an explosion occurred 300 meters (yards) away from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings, Energoatom said in a statement. The attack also damaged a nearby hydroelectric power station and transmission lines.

“Currently, all three power units of the PNPP (Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant) are operating normally. Fortunately, there were no casualties among the station’s personnel,” Energoatom said.

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It published two photos showing a crater allegedly created by the blast. In one of the photos, a man stood in the crater to get an idea of ​​its size.

Commenting on the attack on the Telegram messaging app, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “The invaders wanted to shoot again, but they forgot what a nuclear power plant is. Russia is endangering the whole world. We must stop it before it is too late .”

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There was no immediate Russian response to Ukraine’s allegations.

The Mykolaiv region has been under constant fire from Russian forces in recent weeks.

Another Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya — the largest in Europe and about 250 km (155 miles) east of the Mykolaiv site — was shut down earlier this month due to Russian shelling, raising concerns about a possible nuclear disaster.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for shelling the Zaporizhzhya factory, which is owned by Russian troops but operated by Ukrainian personnel. The shelling damaged buildings and disrupted power lines.

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The UN nuclear watchdog said this weekend that one of the four main power lines at the Russian-operated nuclear facility in Zaporizhzhya had been repaired and would re-supply electricity from the Ukrainian grid.

(Reporting by Pavel PolityukWriting by Olzhas Auyezov and Pavel Polityuk; editing by Toby Chopra and Gareth Jones)

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