7 August, 04:52 PM

After Russian shelling, IAEA demands access to Zaporizhzhia NPP

The International Atomic Energy Agency demanded to be granted access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following the facility’s shelling by Russian troops, according to a statement by the Director General of the agency, Rafael Grossi, on Aug. 6.

"I’m extremely concerned by the shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond," Grossi said.

He stressed the unacceptability of military action that endangers the Zaporizhzhia NPP, and stated that "it must be avoided at all costs."

"I strongly and urgently appeal to all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility, with its six reactors,” says the statement.

“And I condemn any violent acts carried out at or near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant or against its staff.”

The IAEA Director General added that Ukrainian personnel working at the occupied station should be able to perform their duties without threats or pressure, which can also undermine the safety of the nuclear power plant.

“In order to help prevent the situation from spiraling even more out of control, the IAEA’s presence to provide technical support for nuclear safety and security is of paramount importance,” Grossi stated.

“For the last four months now, I have been ready to lead a mission of IAEA safety, security and safeguards experts to the country’s biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzia... That this vital mission has not yet happened is not because of the IAEA. Despite our determined efforts, it has not been possible, so far. I will not give up. I will continue to push – and push again – for this IAEA mission to finally take place.”

Earlier, Russian outlet The Insider reported that the occupying forces might have mined the nuclear plant.

The Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are captives of the occupying troops.

The ZNPP was brought back to operation in April under Russian control, although it is still providing power to Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have noted that Russia is using the territory of the ZNPP to fire on Ukrainian positions with impunity, since Ukraine will not shell the territory of a nuclear facility.

The press service of Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator, reported on July 21 that the Russian military placed no less than 14 units of heavy military equipment with ammunition, weapons and explosives in the engine room of the first power unit of the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of using the Zaporizhzhia NPP as a "nuclear shield" and called the actions of the Russia "the height of irresponsibility."

Russian troops recently staged a false flag attack on the plant, shelling it twice on Aug. 5. As a result, several power lines were damaged, and the plant’s 4th power unit was disconnected from the power system and put into reserve. The line that transports hydrogen to the ZNPP was also impacted, causing a fire.

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