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Zaporizhzhia residents ‘scared’ at news of nuclear power plant disconnection

The disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant put the residents of the region’s city of the same name located some 120 km to the northwest in a state of alert on Friday.

“Of course I am scared. Everyone is scared, we don’t know what will happen next, what is waiting for us every next minute, every second,” 25-year-old social media manager Maria Varakina told Reuters.

The situation in the power plant was tense. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy explicitly said that the world narrowly escaped a radiation disaster when electricity to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was cut off for hours. He also urged international bodies to act more rapidly in forcing Russian troops to vacate the site.

President Zelenskyy said Russian shelling on Thursday had sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the Zaporizhzhia plant from the power grid. A Russian official pointed the finger of blame at Ukraine instead.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear company, said that electricity needed for the plant’s own usage was now being provided through a power line from Ukraine’s electricity system. The company later added that one of the plant’s two functioning reactors had been reconnected to that grid.

More than 18,000 people across several settlements in the Zaporizhzhia region were deprived of electricity on Friday due to damage caused to power lines, without specifying the particular lines in question , regional authorities said.

However, according to a Reuters cameraman, there was electricity as per usual in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday.

The nuclear power plant was captured by Russia in March. Russian troops have controlled it since, though Ukrainian staff, overseen by Russian experts, still run it. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the site, fueling fears of a nuclear disaster.

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