Russian online media announces closure due to growing media restrictions

Surveillance camera footage shows a flare landing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during a bombardment in Enerhodar, Ukraine on March 4. (Zaporizhzhya NPP/YouTube/Reuters)

Russian forces have “occupied” the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine after a fire broke out at the facility on Friday morning, according to Ukraine’s Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate.

“Currently, the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is occupied by the military forces of the Russian Federation,” the regulator said in a statement on Friday.

The “administrative building and the control point of the plant are under the control of the occupants”, Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear operator, said on Friday in a statement via Telegram.

“The power plant personnel continue to work on the generator sets, ensuring the stable operation of nuclear facilities,” Energoatom added. “Unfortunately, there are dead and injured among the Ukrainian defenders of the station.”

The plant’s six reactors remain intact, although auxiliary buildings in reactor compartment 1 have been damaged, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said.

“Systems and components important to the safety of the nuclear power plant are operational,” the statement said. With Unit 1 off, four of the six units are cooled while one unit provides power.

“At present, no change in the delisting situation has been recorded,” the statement added.

A bit of context: After heavy shelling by Russian forces early on Friday, a fire broke out at the nuclear power plant, prompting alarm from Ukrainian experts and officials.

Firefighters were unable to access the site at first. After a while the fighting stopped, the firefighters were allowed in and the fire was put out. No casualties were reported in the fire.

US and Ukrainian officials said radiation levels appeared normal.

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