“Situation not improved”: IAEA chief concerned about safety at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

“Situation not improved”
IAEA chief concerned about safety at Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

Nuclear safety at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is apparently still at risk. Military activities around the area had even increased, according to the conclusion after the second inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Now a safety concept is to be developed.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has expressed concern about the situation on the ground after his second inspection of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia. “Obviously the situation is not improving. On the contrary, military activities around the area are increasing,” he said after the visit, according to Russian media. He had previously visited Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in September.

Grossi therefore confirmed plans for a security concept for the nuclear power plant. Russian and Ukrainian troops accuse each other of shelling the nuclear power plant. Grossi said safety precautions should now be discussed with both sides to prevent a nuclear incident with radioactive effects. “I’m an optimist in that I think it’s possible,” he said.

IAEA experts arrived in bulletproof vests

State television in Russia showed IAEA experts wearing UN bulletproof vests crossing the front line between the Kiev-controlled and Moscow-controlled parts of Zaporizhia Oblast. They therefore covered part of the way on foot at a destroyed bridge.

The main goal of the talks with the leaders in Kiev and Moscow is nuclear safety, said Grossi. Everything must be done to protect people. The 18-strong delegation got an overview of the security situation of the power plant, which was repeatedly shelled. Only a few IAEA specialists stayed. They are planned as a temporary contingent for the nuclear experts currently stationed there.

With its six blocks and a net output of 5700 megawatts, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Last summer, regular shelling of the power plant site triggered international fears of a nuclear accident. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of artillery fire. The reactors then in operation were shut down as a result. Due to the artillery battles, however, the power supply for the necessary cooling system was interrupted several times. Diesel generators were used to bridge the gap.

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