IAEA Head Grossi is Concerned about the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant

OrganizationsInternational Organizations ♦ Published: March 30, 2023; 23:37 ♦ (Vindobona)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again expressed concerns about the fighting around the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Zaporizhzhya. Head of IAEA Rafel Grossi holds on to the implementation of a security concept.

IAEA is Concerned about the Difficult Situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /Ralf1969, CC BY-SA 3.0

The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, has expressed concern about the situation there after his second inspection at the Russian-occupied Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhya. "The situation is not improving. On the contrary, military activities around the area are increasing," he said today after the visit, according to Russian media. He had previously visited Europe's largest nuclear power plant in September. Grossi reiterated plans for a security concept for the nuclear power plant. Russian and Ukrainian forces accuse each other of shelling the nuclear plant. Grossi said security arrangements will now be discussed with both sides to prevent a nuclear incident with radioactive fallout. "I am an optimist in the sense that I believe this is possible," he said, according to ORF.

As reported by Kleine Zeitung, state television in Russia showed how the IAEA experts, wearing United Nations bulletproof vests, crossed the front line between the Kiev- and Moscow-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhya Oblast. According to the report, they covered part of the way on foot by a destroyed bridge. Grossi said that the main goal of the talks with the leaders in Kyiv and Moscow was nuclear security. Everything must be done to protect people, he said. The delegation had taken an overview of the security situation at the power plant, which has also been repeatedly shelled. Only a few IAEA specialists stayed. They are scheduled as a replacement contingent for the nuclear experts there.

Also according to Kleine Zeitung, the Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom said that the experts would have to leave the plant again at 16:00 CEST. Rosatom representative Renat Kachaa said that Russia wanted to show that it was taking care of the safety of the nuclear power plant and repairing the damage after the shelling. He also confirmed that there was military equipment at the site to monitor radiation, for example. "This is understandably a laboratory on wheels with a military look," he said, referring to accusations by Ukraine that Russia had stationed weapons there.

According to ORF, with its six units and a net output of 5,700 megawatts, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Last summer, regular shelling of the power plant site sparked international fears of a nuclear accident. Russia and Ukraine accused each other of artillery fire. As a result, the reactors in operation at the time were shut down. However, the artillery fire also interrupted the power supply for the necessary cooling system several times. Diesel generators were used to bridge the gap.