Nuclear Russia

IAEA chief raises alarm over nuclear safety at Russian-controlled plant in Ukraine

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-general says the level of safety at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, currently under Russian occupation in Ukraine, is like a “red light blinking” as his organization tries in vain to get access for work including repairs.

Rafael Grossi, in an interview with The Associated Press, turned the focus to the nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia — a day after the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. That plant was also taken over by Russian forces.

Grossi said that the IAEA needs access to the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine so its inspectors can, among other things, reestablish connections with the Vienna-based headquarters of the UN agency. And for that, both Russia and Ukraine need to help.

The plant requires repairs, “and all of this is not happening. So the situation as I have described it, and I would repeat it today, is not sustainable as it is,” Grossi said. “So this is a pending issue. This is a red light blinking.”

He spoke in an interview Wednesday, a day after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the issue.

“Understandably, my Ukrainian counterparts do not want the IAEA inspectors to go to one of their own facilities under the authority of a third power,” Grossi said. “I had a long conversation about this with President Zelensky last night, and it’s something that will still require consultations. We are not there yet.”

The IAEA chief continues to press Russia’s government for access to the Zaporizhzhia plant.

“I don’t see movement in that direction as we speak,” he said. But he is meeting with the Russian side “soon.”

“There are two units that are active, in active operation, as you know, others that are in repairs or in cool down. And there are some activities, technical activities and also inspection activities that need to be performed,” Grossi said.

Read more at The Times of Israel

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David Keyton and Cara Anna