When Russian forces attack the plant, there is a possibility that something will go wrong, such as a radiation spill. But the plant will most likely endure and the most dangerous processes can be shut down and the worst results avoided. The location of the potential projectile and damage is within a few hundred feet of the Unit 2 reactor building, says Tom Bielefeld, an independent nuclear safety analyst based in Germany. He also reported that two shells had fallen in an area used to contain ancient nuclear waste that was north of the battle.
The great danger in any nuclear reactor is that it will somehow interrupt the cooling of the fuel, because without sufficient cooling, the fuel will heat up to the point where it can destroy itself. Without cooling, the cores of the three working reactors overheated and the nuclear fuel eventually melted. But at various points in the battle, Russian forces launched projectiles deep into the nuclear complex in the direction of the reactor buildings. The cost of hardening commercial nuclear power plants so that they can survive a military attack is likely prohibitive.
At the Rivne nuclear power plant in the north of the country, plant director Pavlo Pavlyshyn told NPR that Ukrainian forces were prepared to mount a defense should Russian troops try to seize the plant. The incident raised alarm among world leaders and nuclear experts about the possibility of intentional or accidental damage to the reactor that could lead to radiation leakage or, in the worst case, melting of the reactor core. Rosatom, Russia's state-owned nuclear company, has sent nearly a dozen engineers to supervise its operation. Russian troops have captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which still contains nuclear waste that could pose a threat to the surrounding area.
People from all over the world watched through a live-streamed security camera how Russian forces attacked and seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the largest in Europe, on Friday morning, local time. Even so, the nuclear power plant presents a unique challenge that Ukraine has not had to face before in the war. After a conversation with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, IAEA Director Grossi called on all parties to “refrain from taking actions that could jeopardize Ukraine's nuclear power plants. BANGKOK — Europe's largest nuclear power plant was hit by Russian bombings early Friday, causing a fire and heightening fears of a disaster that could affect all of Central Europe for decades, such as the 1986 Chernobyl collapse.
However, he said, if the shooting had damaged more of the plant's critical subsystems and the nuclear engineers on site had not been able to reach emergency backups, the situation could have become dire. It was not immediately clear how the power plant was attacked, but Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov said that a Russian military column had been seen heading towards the nuclear plant and that loud gunshots were heard in the city.