Detailing the extensive damage its inspectors found during their visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) that has been occupied by Russian troops, the International Atomic Energy Agency called on Tuesday for security protection and nuclear safety zone to be set up around the plant.
After a team of experts led by IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled to the plant last week, to assess the situation on the ground, the UN nuclear watchdog issued a report on the situation in Ukraine, including at ZNPP where IAEA has established a presence.
The team noted its grave concerns about the risks of a nuclear accident and about the situation at the facility which has been continually shelled and fought over, calling it not sustainable and demanding interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused on the facility.
With Ukraine and Russia blaming one another for shelling around the facility, the IAEA announced its intentions to start consultations with both Ukraine as the operator of the plant and Russia, which is its de facto occupier, to reach the necessary agreement about establishing such a security zone.
Noting the constant high stress and pressure that some 9,000 Ukrainian staff currently operating the plant they are under, the IAEA report also recommended improving working conditions warning that the current situation could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.
In a television interview several hours later, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told CNN the situation at the ZNPP continues to be very worrying and warned they’re playing with fire.
Speaking from Vienna, Grossi said that creating a nuclear safety zone is within the IAEA’s mandate to protect the safety and security of the facility and the people there, stressing that nuclear security is indispensable.