A Russian missile strike hit a facility close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday, causing no damage to its reactors but damaging other industrial equipment in what the country’s atomic energy operator denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism”. Energoatom, which operates Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said the strike early on Monday hit an industrial complex that includes the Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant in the southerm Mykolaiv region.
Energoatom said the missile struck just 300 metres (yards) from the plant, causing an explosion that broke more than 100 windows on buildings in the complex. The attack also caused a nearby hydropower plant to shut down temporarily, but didn’t affect the reactors of the nuclear plant, Energoatom said, calling the strike an act of “nuclear terrorism”.
The Russian Defence Ministry had no immediate comment on the attack. The Pivdennoukrainsk plant, also known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, sits along the Southern Bug River and is some 300 kilometres (190 miles) south of the capital, Kyiv. It is Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear power plant with three reactors.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion and repeatedly came under fire that cut off its transmission lines and eventually forced operators to shut it down to avoid a radiation disaster. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the shelling.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, which monitors the Zaporizhzhia plant, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the attack.