MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. The Ukrainian military is deliberately targeting nuclear waste storage at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant to bring about a ‘dirty bomb’ explosion and make the area uninhabitable, Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of the Zaporozhye Region’s military-civilian administration, told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Thursday.
"They were practically targeting the nuclear waste storage facility in order to create a kind of a 'dirty bomb' on our territory, to create the situation where there will be a release. <...> [In order] to lead to air contamination and make an entire territory uninhabitable," he stressed.
Thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste are stored at the plant, Balitsky went on to say. "Their (Ukrainian troops' - TASS) goals are, of course, clear to us. They want to scare us, they want to make unusable the territory they have already lost forever," he stated.
At the moment, the concrete protection of the facility ‘holds up’, he said. "But we find hits 300 meters away from the nuclear power plant, we find the shells that have almost hit, that are 20 meters away from the storage facility with nuclear waste. <...> If they hit the concrete storage facility accurately enough, than, which is frightful to think of, it will bring about something like what happened in Chernobyl - there will be a release, it will be a 'dirty bomb,'" Balitsky explained. According to him, Zaporozhye Region authorities have developed a plan that includes the evacuation of the population if the situation around the plant develops under a negative scenario.
The nuclear power plant in Energodar is under the control of the Russian troops. Over the past few days, Ukrainian forces have conducted several strikes on the premises, using drones, heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Air defense systems repel attacks in most cases, but in some episodes, shells do hit infrastructure facilities, as well as the storage area.
As earlier reported, on Thursday, Ukraine’s armed forces conducted a massive shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP and the city of Energodar for the second time in one day. Previously, Russian air defense systems deflected all Ukrainian attacks with strike drones and heavy artillery on the city and the NPP overnight and on Thursday morning. Since early August, the Ukrainian army attempted to strike the NPP’s premises and the city at least five times. On August 5, the Ukrainian armed forces shelled a railway station three times, on August 6, they bombarded the NPP’s healthcare facility and a water supply facility in Energodar, and on August 7, another strike on the NPP hit the area where a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel was located.