KYIV, UKRAINE (AP) – Russian forces have installed multiple rocket launchers at Ukraine’s shut-down Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials claimed on Thursday, raising fears Europe’s largest atomic power station could be used as a base to fire on Ukrainian territory and heightening radiation dangers.
Ukraine’s nuclear company Energoatom said in a statement that Russian forces occupying the plant have placed several Grad multiple rocket launchers near one of its six nuclear reactors.
It said the offensive systems are located at new “protective structures” the Russians secretly built, “violating all conditions for nuclear and radiation safety”.
The claim could not be independently verified.
The Zaporizhzhia station has been under Russian control since the war’s early days. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling the plant.
Although the risk of a nuclear meltdown is greatly reduced because all six reactors have been shut down, experts have said a dangerous radiation release is still possible. The reactors were shut down because the fighting kept knocking out external power supplies needed to run the reactors’ cooling systems and other safety systems.