IAEA director general Grossi to inspect Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP in Ukraine

26 March, 11:36 AM
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, will return to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant this week to “assess the serious nuclear safety situation and emphasize the need to protect the facility,” the IAEA reported on March 26.

“I’ve decided to travel again to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to see for myself how the situation has evolved since September, and to talk to those operating the facility in these unprecedented and very difficult circumstances,” Grossi said.

“I remain determined to continue doing everything in my power to help reduce the risk of a nuclear accident during the tragic war in Ukraine.”

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This will be Grossi’s second trip to the Russian-occupied ZNPP, following the IAEA visit in Sept. 2022.

“Despite our presence at the site for seven months now, the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is still precarious,” Grossi said.

“The nuclear safety and security dangers are all too obvious, as is the necessity to act now to prevent an accident with potential radiological consequences to the health and environment for people in Ukraine and beyond. I’m therefore continuing to work on a proposal to protect the plant.”

Grossi said that his visit to Ukraine aims to provide backing and enhance the routine rotation of IAEA experts, which was most recently carried out on March 2.

The rotation was unexpectedly postponed by a month, with Ukrainian state nuclear regulator Energoatom highlighting that it was obstructed by the Russian invaders, said the IAEA’s press service.

The three IAEA experts who were stationed at the Russian-occupied station since January have since left Ukraine following their rotation.

The six-reactor ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – was seized by Russian invaders following clashes on March 4, 2022. The facility has been damaged due to Russian shelling, while the station’s personnel has been captured and forced to work for the occupiers.

Russian troops have set up firing positions at the ZNPP and regularly use the site to shell Ukrainian cities, knowing that Ukrainian forces cannot return fire for risk of damaging one of the plant’s reactors.

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