IAEA calls for “security protection zone” around Zaporizhzhia NPP

10 September, 10:48 AM
The area of the Zaporizhzhya NPP is constantly being shelled by the Russian occupiers (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

The area of the Zaporizhzhya NPP is constantly being shelled by the Russian occupiers (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Safety at the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) has deteriorated even further and a secure perimeter around the facility must be established “immediately,” the head of UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said in a Twitter post on Sept. 9.

IAEA representatives on the ground alerted Grossi to recent events at the power station, which have further increased the risk of a hazardous accident.

“Shelling has caused a complete blackout in Enerhodar and compromised the safe operation of the nearby ZNPP,” said Grossi.

“This must stop, and a Nuclear Safety & Security Protection Zone (NSSPZ) agreed immediately. A nuclear power plant can never be a pawn of war.”

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According to the IAEA, the station’s operators are considering shutting down the last remaining reactor, as they are no longer certain that an external power supply would be restored to the facility – which is necessary to keep reactor cooling systems running.

Grossi added that the ZNPP may also face personnel shortages, as the residents of the nearby city of Enerhodar have to contend with ever-worsening living conditions.

“This is absolutely unacceptable and can’t go on,” the official said.

“I strongly urge for all shelling to cease in this area. These dramatic events underscore the dire need for an NSSPZ.”

Russian forces shelled an electrical substation in Enerhodar, precipitating a blackout in parts of the city, which is now on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, city mayor Dmytro Orlov said on Sept. 7.

A delegation of 14 IAEA experts arrived at Russia-occupied ZNPP on Sep. 1. After spending several hours at the facility, part of the delegation departed. Two agency experts remain at the power plant, monitoring the situation. IAEA head Rafael Grossi later said the agency will have a permanent presence at ZNPP.

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 for the risk of causing a nuclear calamity.

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