Five UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives will remain at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on a permanent basis to monitor the nuclear security of the facility, IAEA head Rafael Grossi has confirmed.
Grossi pledged to deliver a full report to the UN nuclear agency’s board, CNN and Reuters reported on Sep. 2.
“We will then establish a permanent presence there, allowing everyone to get unbiased, neutral, and technically sound information about what’s going on there,” said Grossi.
The current IAEA mission to ZNPP is a technical one, focusing on “three-four key elements,” including backup systems and control centers, Grossi said.
The official added that the power plant’s structural integrity “was violated on several occasions.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later said that Russia had made an effort to prevent IAEA from getting a complete picture of what’s going on at ZNPP, but noted that the agency could still play a role in pressuring Moscow to demilitarize the facility.
A delegation of 14 IAEA experts arrived at the Russia-occupied ZNPP on Sep. 1. After spending several hours at the facility, part of the delegation departed. Five agency experts remain at the power plant, setting up monitoring equipment.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said that Russian troops are doing everything they can to prevent IAEA from properly assessing how ZNPP is faring under Russian military occupation. In particular, the delegation was barred from the plant’s crisis management center, which was packed with Russian soldiers.
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 Kremlin uses the facility as cover for its forces, as Ukraine can’t return fire because of the risk of causing a nuclear disaster.