Nuclear power plant on battlefield
IAEA boss wants to go personally to Zaporizhia
08/12/2022, 02:40 am
The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has come under fire again and again in recent days, with Russia and Ukraine blaming each other. One thing is certain: the situation is extremely dangerous. Now the UN Security Council got involved – and Russia made a commitment.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia, which is under constant fire, is currently not a security risk. “IAEA experts have provisionally determined that there is no immediate security threat as a result of the shelling or other military action. However, this may change at any time,” said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi at an emergency UN Security Council meeting in New York.
Just a few hours before the session of the most powerful UN body requested by Russia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant came under fire again. Zaporizhia was attacked with heavy artillery and rocket launchers, a representative of the Russian occupation authorities, Vladimir Rogov, said via Telegram. Shots are fired from towns under Ukrainian control. The Ukrainian company Enerhoatom reported ten impacts in the vicinity. The information could not be verified.
Russia agrees to cooperate
Earlier, Ukraine had accused Russia of targeting the nuclear power plant. Before the Security Council, Grossi called on Moscow and Kyiv to quickly allow international experts to visit. “Personally, I am ready to lead such a mission.” Important facts could not be gathered without the physical presence of representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States is also pushing for a trip by experts: “This visit can’t wait any longer,” said US Undersecretary for Arms Control Bonnie Jenkins.
Russia’s UN ambassador Wassili Nebensja promised Moscow’s cooperation: “We are ready to provide any support we can get in solving organizational matters.” A visit should ideally take place in August. After the meeting, Nebensia emphasized that no country on the 15-member Security Council blamed Russia for the shelling of the nuclear power plant.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres had previously warned of a new nuclear catastrophe and expressed his deep concern: “Unfortunately, there has been no de-escalation in the last few days, but reports of other deeply worrying incidents. If these continue, this could lead to a catastrophe. ” He appealed to both warring parties to stop military activities immediately.
Major security concerns about a possible UN mission
It was unclear whether a group of UN experts could be sent to the nuclear power plant. “We’re talking about a nuclear power plant in the middle of a battlefield,” warned UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. This raises enormous security concerns for United Nations employees. According to the operator Enerhoatom, the situation in the power plant is “under control”. The radioactivity is not higher than usual.
The nuclear power plant had already been fired at and damaged by rockets over the weekend. Ukraine accuses Russian troops of using the nuclear power plant as a fortress for attacks. The pro-Russian separatists, in turn, accuse Ukraine of wanting to persuade the West to intervene by shelling the power plant. Rogov rejected calls by the group of seven leading industrialized nations (G7) – including Germany – to return the power plant to Ukrainian control. “It would be like putting a hand grenade in a monkey’s hand,” he wrote.