(Reuters) - An accident at a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya in southeastern Ukraine poses no danger, Ukrainian energy authorities said on Wednesday, an assessment later corroborated by the French nuclear institute IRSN.
Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said the accident occurred on Friday in one of the six blocks at Zaporizhzhya, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, and was caused by a short circuit in its power outlet system. The incident was "in no way" linked to power production, he told a news conference.
"There is no threat ... there are no problems with the reactors," said Demchyshyn, who took up his post in a new government only on Tuesday. He added that he expected the plant to return to normal operations on Dec. 5.
An explosion and fire at Ukraine's Chernobyl power plant in 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident, was caused by human error and a series of blasts sent a cloud of radioactive dust billowing across northern and western Europe.
France's public nuclear safety institute IRSN said it had not detected any unusual radioactivity in Ukraine after Friday's accident and that it presented no danger to the nearby population or environment.
"We have two sensors installed on the roof of the French Embassy in Kiev, and the embassy has not signaled anything unusual," Michel Chouha, the IRSN's official representative for Central and Eastern Europe, told Reuters.
Interfax news agency said a 1,000-megawatt reactor was housed in the affected plant block.
In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which must be notified if a nuclear accident poses an international threat, said it had no immediate comment on the incident.
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