Potential nuclear disaster at Zaporozhye nuclear power plant could threaten public health in Ukraine and beyond, IAEA says
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday it was “extremely worried” by Friday’s bombing of the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant. The risk of a possible nuclear disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is “Very real,” he warned, adding that not only Ukraine would be affected, but also other nations.
“Military action jeopardizing the safety and security of the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant is completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs,” the director general of the UN nuclear watchdog, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said in a statement. Target the establishment with any “military firepower” would amount to “playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences”, he added.
The IAEA has also offered to send a delegation to the site to “provide technical support for nuclear safety and security” and to “help prevent the situation from spiraling further out of control.” Grossi said he was ready to personally lead such a delegation.
The assignment would be “conduct essential verification activities at the factory” and deliver nuclear safety and security equipment, according to the agency’s statement. Yet for this to happen, the IAEA would need the support of the UN, as well as “cooperation, understanding and facilitation” from Moscow and kyiv, the statement added. “We all need to put aside our differences and act, now,” the agency said, adding that “We can’t afford to waste any more time.”
Neither Moscow nor Kyiv have reacted to the IAEA proposal so far.
On Friday, Russia accused Ukrainian forces of bombing the nuclear power plant, which is in the Zaporozhye region of southern Ukraine. Moscow urged the UN and the IAEA to compel Ukraine to stop the bombings.
Igor Vishnevetsky, senior non-proliferation and arms control official at the Russian Foreign Ministry, warned that the bombing of the plant risked triggering an event similar to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
kyiv, meanwhile, accused Russian troops of bombing the plant, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of using the plant as a “shieldfor his soldiers.
The plant was seized by Russian forces in late February when Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine. The facility continues to operate with Ukrainian personnel under Russian control.