IAEA chief contemplates Russia visit for nuclear talks after touring ZNPP

31 March, 11:48 AM
Rafael Grossi at the ZNPP (Photo:Fredrik Dahl/IAEA/Handout via REUTERS)

Rafael Grossi at the ZNPP (Photo:Fredrik Dahl/IAEA/Handout via REUTERS)

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, may go to Moscow after visiting the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant or ZNPP, RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, Radio Svoboda, reported on March31.

After touring the Ukrainian plant, which is at present located in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Oblast, the head of the IAEA said he was “determined to continue diplomatic efforts” to make the plant safe and prevent a disaster.

Grossi arrived at the ZNPP on March 29. Before arriving, he said he planned to check for any changes in the situation at the plant, talk with nuclear scientists, and act as a guarantor of the rotation of the members of the IAEA’s permanent mission, which has been working there since last September.

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Ahead of Grossi’s visit, the IAEA abandoned the idea of creating a demilitarized zone around the ZNPP. Now, according to the director general, the agency is seeking a “behavioral,” rather than “territorial,” solution that would involve commitments not to attack the station and not to use it for attacks.

Firing positions have been set up by Russian invasion forces at the ZNPP, and they are using it to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities across the Dnipro River, in particular on the city of Nikopol and the nearby town of Marhanets in the government-controlled part of Zaporizhzhya Oblast.

Ukrainian forces are unable to return fire due to the possibility that it might damage the plant’s six nuclear reactors.

Previously, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that international organizations have not yet been able to resolve the situation with the ZNPP, so it is necessary to look for other mechanisms.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, ZNPP was captured by Russian invaders after fighting in Enerhodar on March 4, 2022. The ZNPP buildings were damaged by Russian shelling in several places, and the plant’s workers were taken captive.

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