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Russia installs shield over Zaporizhzhia nuclear storage site

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A shield is being set up over a storage site for spent nuclear waste at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine to protect it from shelling and drones, a Russian-installed official said on Saturday.

Video footage published by Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia province, showed workers mounting a screen of what appeared to be some kind of transparent sheeting on wires above dozens of concrete cylinders about 5 meters (16 feet) high.

“For now, it will protect from shrapnel and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) thrown from drones. But later on it will be substantial,” he said.

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Fighting over Europe’s largest nuclear power station in 10 months of conflict has raised fears of a possible Chornobyl-style nuclear disaster.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of recklessly shelling the plant, whose six reactors are all off line.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a call on Tuesday with reporters that Russia remains in contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is trying to broker a demilitarized zone around the power station.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna, told TASS news agency on Saturday: “It’s probably too early to say that we’re approaching an agreement. And I wouldn’t predict the timing of the finalization of the negotiation process.”

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