IAEA chief arrives at Russia’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

The head of the UN’s nuclear energy watchdog arrived at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Wednesday in a rare visit to Europe’s largest atomic facility, currently controlled by Russian forces.

There have been lingering fears over the safety of the nuclear power plant in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, where there have been frequent bombardments since Russian troops invaded last year.

Announcing the arrival of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation led by Rafael Grossi, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom released images of a convoy of civilian and military vehicles marked with the letter Z, a Russian pro-war symbol.

“Raphael Grossi plans to see how the situation at the ZNPP has changed, to speak with the nuclear engineers at the plant and to act as the guarantor for the rotation of the members of the permanent mission of the IAEA”, he said. he said on social media.

This is Grossi’s second visit to Zaporizhzhia since Russia invaded Ukraine last February and his stated purpose is “to assess first-hand the serious nuclear safety and security situation in the facility,” the IAEA said.

The agency has had a team of experts inside the factory since September 2022, but Grossi called the situation “still precarious”.

Earlier this week, Grossi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said it was not possible to restore security at the plant with Russia in charge.

“Without the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and personnel from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and adjacent territory, any initiative to restore nuclear safety and security is doomed to failure,” Zelensky told Grossi.

Renat Karchaa, an adviser to the Russian company Rosenergoatom, which manages the facility, said Wednesday before the visit that it was unlikely to lead to major breakthroughs.

“We are under no illusions that Grossi’s visit will radically change anything. For us, this is an ordinary business event,” he told Russian news agencies.

“Of course, anything can happen,” he added.

Russia news

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