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The director of Europe's largest nuclear power plant Saturday blamed an error by workmen for an accident that killed one man and seriously injured another.

Vladimir Bronnikov, director of the nuclear plant near Zaporizha, told Reuters, "This is negligence on the job, a failure to implement safety rules, a violation of everything they ever learned."

The fire and explosion at the plant, about 350 miles southeast of Kiev, occurred when sparks from a welder's torch ignited non-radioactive hydrogen from a leaking pipe. One workman, 33, was killed instantly. A co-worker was still hospitalized Saturday with serious burns.

Ecologists immediately renewed calls to close the former Soviet republic's network of five nuclear power stations.

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