Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: Russian vehicles seen inside the turbine hall


CNN geotagged and confirmed the authenticity of the video, which began circulating on social media on Thursday. It is not known when the video was taken.

The images show one of six turbine halls on the western side of the nuclear power plant, located in the southeast town of Enerhodar. Each turbine hall is connected and integrated into a large building that houses a nuclear reactor.

The vehicles, which appear to be standard Russian military trucks, are on the far west side of the building on the ground floor, just over 400 feet (130 meters) from the reactor.

At least five vehicles – including one clearly marked with the pro-war “Z” symbol — are seen in the video, with at least two tent-like structures nearby. There are a number of assorted pallets near the vehicles.

It is unclear from the video whether the pallets and tent-like structures are part of the Russian military or related to power plant operations.

A new video shows Russian military vehicles parked inside a turbine hall, connected to a nuclear reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Moscow has previously said the plant’s only military equipment is related to guard duties. On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that satellite imagery “shows that weapons, especially heavy ones, are not placed on the territory of this station.”

CNN contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment on what is inside and around military vehicles in the turbine hall, but did not immediately receive a response.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of threatening nuclear terrorism, especially around the plant.

Kyiv has repeatedly accused Russian forces of stockpiling heavy weapons inside the complex and using them as cover to launch attacks, knowing that Ukraine cannot retaliate without risking hitting one of the reactors. the power plant. Moscow, meanwhile, claimed Ukrainian troops were targeting the site.

On Monday, Ukrainian state nuclear company chairman Petro Kotin said Russia was stockpiling 14 “units of heavy military equipment” in the “first power unit” and “six vehicles” in the “second power room”. machinery”.

Russian military vehicles have been absent from the plant since July 24, according to satellite images of the complex provided to CNN by Planet Labs.

It is unclear whether Russian military trucks are stored inside the turbine hall or using it as cover after a July 19 Ukrainian military strike. The strike targeted Russian military personnel in three tents just under 1,000 feet (more than 300 meters) from one of the nuclear reactors.

Fears of a nuclear disaster

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been under Russian control since March.

Attacks on the complex, which have flared up in southern Ukraine, have raised concerns about the specter of nuclear catastrophe, leading the United Nations nuclear watchdog and world leaders to demand that a mission be allowed to visit the site and assess the damage.

Europe's largest nuclear power plant is under threat.  But experts say a Chernobyl-sized disaster is unlikely

But nuclear experts are keen to defuse some of the most alarmist warnings, saying the main threat is closest to the plant itself and does not warrant Europe-wide alerts. Experts are particularly wary of any comparison to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 – the worst nuclear accident of all time – a repeat of which is incredibly unlikely, they said.

The shelling at the factory in recent weeks has damaged a dry storage facility – where spent nuclear fuel drums are kept – as well as radiation monitoring detectors, according to Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power company.

On August 5, several explosions near the electrical panel caused a power outage and a reactor was disconnected from the power grid, according to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi last week told the UN Security Council the situation had deteriorated “to the point of being very alarming”.

Speaking in the western city of Lviv on Thursday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for the “demilitarization” of the area around the plant and said an agreement was urgently needed to “restore Zaporizhzhia as a purely civilian infrastructure and provide security”. of the region.”

“We have to tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide,” said António Guterres.

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