U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she had spoken with Ukraine’s energy minister and that the U.S. Department of Energy has “activated its Nuclear Incident Response Team” in coordination with the Department of Defense, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the White House. She added there was no indication of elevated radiation levels at the Zaporizhzhia plant, which supplies more than a fifth of the electricity in Ukraine.
“The plant’s reactors are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down,” she wrote.
Black-and-white video footage, some of which was said to be live, circulated across social media early Thursday evening showcasing grainy images of what purported to show smoke and fire coming from buildings at the site.
President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky about the situation at the plant.
“President Biden joined President Zelenskiy in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site,” the White House said, according to Reuters.
“Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” Ukraine’s minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”
The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was aware of “shelling” at the plant and wrote that it was in contact with Ukrainian authorities. The agency wrote on Twitter that the fire at the site “has not affected ‘essential’ equipment, plant personnel taking mitigatory actions.” IAEA said its Incident and Emergency Centre was in “response mode due to the serious situation.”
Just over a week after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, and the sentiment against Russia’s unprovoked attacks mount, including recent crackdowns on Russian oligarchs. On Thursday, Russian state-sponsored propaganda channel RT America announced it’s ceasing operations following DirecTV dropping carrying the network. Meanwhile, entertainment companies and studios, ranging from Live Nation to Warner Bros. and Disney, are halting releases and/or business within the region.