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Russia takes over operations at Europe’s largest nuclear plant


Moving on with his plans to autonomously operate the annexed Ukrainian regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered his government to take over operations at Europe’s largest nuclear power station in southern Ukraine’s Russia-annexed region of Zaporizhzhia. The power station, which is close to the front lines, has been occupied by the Russian forces since March.

“The government will ensure that the nuclear facilities at the plant… are integrated as federal property,” the executive order said.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is located on the banks of the Dnieper River, only 200 kilometers from the Donbas region, a point of intense conflict between the two armies. It is one of the country’s four operational nuclear power plants, having been in operation since 1984, and accounts for roughly 40% of total electricity generated by all Ukrainian NPPs and one-fifth of annual electricity production in Ukraine.

At one point in the war around the nuclear power station, things became dangerous as parts of the nuclear station were damaged in the shelling, for which both Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

Buildings within the nuclear complex were hit, but no major damage was reported. The radiation levels around the site have remained stable, indicating that there has been no leakage.

On Wednesday, the UN atomic watchdog, IAEA also warned the Energy Intelligence Forum in London that the electricity supply at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is vulnerable.

‚ÄúThe situation with regards to external power continues to be extremely precarious. We do have at the moment external power, but it is, I would say, fragile. There is one line feeding the plant,” said Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Russian order also comes amid comments from Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov that the annexed regions are part of Russia now and will not be returned to Ukraine. He also vowed to take back the regions Russia lost to Ukraine in the last few days.

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