Rafael Mariano Grossi (Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA) warned that parts of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant could have been damaged by recent terrorist attacks.
Grossi stated that even though “IAEA experts believe there’s no immediate threat to nuclear safety,” it could change at any time. ”
He stated, “Any military action which jeopardizes either nuclear safety or security must be stopped immediately.” “These military actions near a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences. ”
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Facility, one of the most important in Europe, is situated on a large area along the Dnipro River near the Russian-occupied city Enerhodar.
Russia and Ukraine refuse to permit an IAEA inspection of the plant. Both countries have accused the other of attacking the plant, an act that the IAEA claims violate “indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars”.
Vassily Nebenzia (Russia’s UN Ambassador) blamed Ukraine for the bombardment. He asked Kyiv for help to prevent further attacks and catastrophic radiation leakage.
But Volodymyr Zelenskyy the Ukrainian President pointed the finger at Moscow. He claimed that Moscow was putting all of Europe at risk.
Zelensky stated, “Nuclear safety in Europe can only be guaranteed by Russia’s complete withdrawal from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant territory”
Energoatom Ukraine, the country’s nuclear agency said that 10 shells had been found close to the site on Thursday. This prevented a handover.
According to the agency, “The buses transporting nuclear workers were returned by Enerhodar due to safety concerns. Workers from the previous shift will still be employed until the situation stabilizes. ”
Energoatom said that the radiation levels at the site were not affected by repeated attacks.
Many Western and Ukrainian officials believe Russia uses the nuclear facility to protect troops and launch attacks. They believe Kyiv will not return fire and risk a crisis.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, accused Moscow of using this plant as a shield for its forces. The Defense Ministry of Britain however stated in a security assessment, that Russia’s actions on this site undermine its safety operations.
Dmytro Orlov, the Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, stated that “Russian forces had been seen using heavy weaponry near the plant in July. They know that these Russian forces won’t respond because they could damage the nuclear power plant. ”
The US supported Ukraine’s request for a demilitarized zone around the facility on Thursday. Bonnie Jenkins, the UN undersecretary of arms controls and international affairs, stated that Russia is responsible.
She warned the UN Security Council of the “many consequences” of the conflict, including the situation at Zaporizhzhia’s nuclear power station. Russia will cease its war only then.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said that he is “gravely concerned” about the incident at this plant. Guterres had called it “suicidal” in the past.
He said, “Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia or any other nuclear facility of Ukraine, or anywhere else, could have devastating consequences not only for the immediate region but for the whole region. “