IAEA on the way to Zaporizhia
For weeks there has been growing international concern about the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which is under Russian control. An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation is now travelling to the power plant to check its safety.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi made a short press statement before leaving Kyiv. It is a critical day, and after six months of effort, it is finally starting. Grossi said he thinks it can be achieved when asked if the IAEA wants to set up a permanent mission.
The task of the IAEA on site is critical to stabilizing the situation in the nuclear facility as much as possible, Grossi continued. They will stay there for a few days. However, Grossi was unable to provide an exact time window.
When asked about the security of the nuclear expert delegation, Grossi noted: “The task is very complex, and we are going into a war zone and occupied territory. This requires explicit security guarantees – not only from the Russian side but also from Ukraine. And we managed to ensure that.”
The nuclear facility is located in the town of Enerhodar near Zaporizhia in south-eastern Ukraine and has been occupied by Russian troops since early March. The facility was damaged by shelling. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for this.
In the past week, the nuclear power plant was even briefly taken off the grid, which caused great concern internationally. The workers at the nuclear facility live in the nearby town of Enerhodar, which is also under Russian control. According to their own statements, they are under enormous pressure and are being threatened by the Russian side – including with weapons.
IAEA chief Grossi said he had assurances that he would be able to speak to staff. That’s one of the most important things he wants to do, Grossi noted.
Image by Wikimedia (Ralf 1969)/ Attribution 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)