Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency: The safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is “on a knife’s edge”


“If we don’t act now to protect the plant, our luck could change sooner or later, with potentially serious consequences for human health and the environment,” Grossi warned in a statement issued in Vienna, where the headquarters are located IAEA.

“We are on a knife’s edge in terms of nuclear safety and security at the Zaporozhye plant,” the largest in Europe, occupied by Russian troops since March 2022, he added, reiterating the fears already expressed several times by his organization.

Two landmine explosions occurred outside the fence surrounding the plant, the first on April 8 and the other four days later, according to the statement.

It is not known for the moment what triggered the explosions, emphasized Grossi, who met last week with high-ranking Russian officials in Kaliningrad (western Russia). He had gone to the power station in Zaporozhye a short time before, for the second time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

The IAEA director warned on Thursday, among other things, that the plant – home to six nuclear reactors – continues to depend on a single power line still functioning, which constitutes “a major risk to nuclear safety and security”.

An emergency power line damaged on March 1 has not yet been repaired, the IAEA, a UN agency, expressed its regret.

The IAEA also emphasizes that the personnel situation in this plant remains “complex and difficult”, also due to the lack of employees.

The Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom communicated on Thursday about the explosion of a Russian mine near the control room of one of the reactors at the Zaporizhia power plant, the Unian news agency reported, citing an Energoatom statement.

“The Russian occupiers continue to turn the Zaporizhia nuclear plant into a military base, placing mines around the plant. And these actions cannot but have consequences”, warns Energoatom in its statement posted on Telegram, in which it indicates that an explosion took place near the control room of the IV reactor.

“As the nuclear terrorists themselves said, one of their mines exploded,” the quoted statement said.

The sound of the explosion was heard by Ukrainian employees who continue to work at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. But, according to Energoatom, the Russians “tried” to calm them down and cover the traces of the deflagration, so that the IAEA experts present on the spot would not see it.

Despite the fact that Ukrainian employees continue to work there, the Zaporozhye plant is under the control of the Russian state corporation Rosatom.

As previously reported by the Ukrainian and international media, the Russian army deployed not only armed soldiers, but also military equipment on the territory of this nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

At the end of March, after eight months of fruitless negotiations, the IAEA abandoned the idea of ​​creating a demilitarized zone around the plant. According to Rafael Grossi, the agency is now looking for another solution to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant in Zaporozhye, reports Nastoiaşcee Vremea, a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America.

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