What to know about Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

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Warnings of a possible attack at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine have sent some nearby residents fleeing over the threat of nuclear catastrophe.

Ukrainian intelligence said Russia sent plant workers home Friday and could be planning an imminent attack. The facility has been under Russian control since March but continues to supply electricity to Ukraine.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for explosions there and said the Kremlin is using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant for blackmail. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has accused Ukraine of shelling the plant. Both sides said the other could seek to deflect blame through a “false flag” operation.

So far, Ukraine’s suspicions that Russia will act to remove Zaporizhzhia from Ukraine’s power grid have not been borne out. But the situation remains tense: Fighting has prompted some nearby residents to leave, while others live under daily bombardment.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned Friday that escalation could lead to a severe nuclear accident. But the Zaporizhzhia facility is safer than the one at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, experts say.

Here’s what to know about the Zaporizhzhia plant and the risks of fighting there.

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