Ukraine. IAEA report: a safety zone should be created around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated in a 52-page report on the occupied Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant by Russia that it is imperative to immediately establish a nuclear safety and protection zone. “Bombing on site and in the vicinity must be stopped immediately to avoid further damage to the installations,” underlined.

IAEA She stressed that her mission, which visited the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant last week, observed damage at various locations on the site, some close to the reactor buildings. Damage to the building with fresh nuclear fuel and solid radioactive waste storage as well as the building with the central alarm station for the physical protection system was found.

According to the IAEA, some of the damage has already been repaired or is in the process of being repaired, but further work is required to eliminate all damage. According to the agency, there is also an urgent need to take provisional measures to prevent a nuclear accident that could be caused by hostilities.

IAEA envoys noted the presence of military vehicles on the site of the power plant, under the shelter connecting the buildings with the reactors.

The report also mentions Russian military personnel and military equipment stationing there at various locations, including military trucks on the ground floor of the B.1 and B.2 turbine halls. According to the IAEA, representatives of the Russian Rosatom are also on the site of the power plant.

Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (photo from July 20)Dmytro Smolyenko / UKRINFORM / PAP / EPA

“Staff Ukraine, operating the power plant under Russian military occupation, is under constant, extremely high pressure and works under stress, especially with a limited number of Ukrainian workers. The situation is not sustainable and may lead to an increase in human error, which has consequences for nuclear safety, “concludes the report.

“The current situation is unacceptable. Urgent interim measures are needed to immediately establish a nuclear safety and security zone. Bombing on site and in the vicinity must be stopped immediately to avoid further damage to the installations,” the IAEA said in the document. The agency also adds that it is “ready to start consultations” on this issue and stresses that the establishment of a safe zone requires the consent of all interested parties.

The Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is being occupied by Russian soldiers ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO / Reuters / Forum

The IAEA report also noted that the power plant personnel do not have unrestricted access to some parts of the facility and must obtain permission from the Russian occupation forces to, inter alia, reach cooling ponds where spent fuel is stored. The IAEA expressed concern that this may hinder the response of personnel in an emergency.

A group of IAEA specialists, chaired by its chief Rafael Grossi, visited Enerhodara from 1 to 5 September. After the inspection of the facility was completed, four experts left Ukraine and two remained on site to work there for a longer period of time.

Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is the largest facility of this type in Europe. It was seized by the Russians on the night of March 3-4. In August, Russian troops fired on the power plant several times, posing a risk of the release of radioactive substances. Moscow has always accused Kyiv of these incidents.

Main photo source: ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO / Reuters / Forum

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