A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have left for the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, which has constantly been under attack by Russian forces.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Monday that the UN nuclear agency’s delegation would reach in Zaporizhzhia later this week.
“The day has come, @IAEAorg’s Support and Assistance Mission to #Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) is now on its way. We must protect the safety and security of #Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest nuclear facility. Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week,” the IAEA Chief wrote on Twitter.
Western leaders have been calling on Russia to allow the UN nuclear watchdog to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where continued Russian shelling has sparked fears of a disaster.
The IAEA said in a statement Sunday that the authorities in Ukraine have informed it of renewed shelling in recent days at the nuclear site, but it said all safety systems remained operational and there had been no increase in radiation levels.
Only two reactors of the six-reactor plant are working.
There had been shelling in the area of the ZNPP on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but Ukraine did not yet have complete information on the nature of the damage, Director General Grossi said. The shelling had hit the area of the plant’s two “special buildings”, both located about 100 meters from the reactor buildings, as well as one overpass area.
Those buildings house facilities including water treatment plants, equipment repair shops or waste management facilities. There was also damage on some water pipelines at the site but they had been repaired.
Meanwhile, the G7 group of nations expressed serious concern over the threat the continued control of Ukrainian nuclear facilities by Russian armed forces pose to their safety and security. “These actions significantly raise the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endanger the population of Ukraine, neighboring states, and the international community,” it said in a statement.
The IAEA has not been able to visit Zaporizhzhia since the conflict began six months ago. Europe’s largest nuclear facility has been controlled by Russian forces since early March, but the Ukrainian staff is continuing to operate the plant.
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