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Opinion
David Fickling

Ukraine Nuclear Plant Attack Shows Bigger Is Safer

Large facilities tend to have heavy casements shielding critical areas. Security isn’t so tight at the newly popular modular versions.

Image from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Image from a video released by Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Some 36 years after the disaster at Chernobyl, no one wants to hear reports of safety issues around a nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

So it got attention when President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said early Friday that Russian shelling at the Zaporizhzhia station could be the “end of Europe” if were to lead to an explosion. (Russian forces later occupied the facility.) But that’s not a likely scenario. As with almost all nuclear plants built since Chernobyl, Zaporizhzhia’s reactors are housed inside containment buildings that will protect them from plane crashes, tornadoes, bomb attacks, and explosions caused by the escape of flammable fission by-products. Ukrainian regulators said a fire at the site hadn’t affected essential equipment, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.