Ukraine power plant needs safe zone to avoid nuclear disaster, says IAEA

Conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are increasingly precarious and a safety zone around it needs to be established immediately to prevent a nuclear accident, the head of the UN atomic watchdog has said.

afael Mariano Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement that there is little likelihood of re-establishing reliable offsite power lines to the plant and its Ukrainian operator is considering shutting down the only remaining operating reactor.

This would leave the plant fully reliant on emergency diesel generators to provide electricity for vital nuclear safety functions.

“This is an unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious,” Mr Grossi said.

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A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in territory under Russian military control in south-eastern Ukraine in May (AP)

“The power plant has no offsite power. And we have seen that once infrastructure is repaired, it is damaged once again,” he said.

“This is completely unacceptable. It cannot stand.”

Mr Grossi called for an “immediate cessation of all shelling in the entire area” and the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone.

“This is the only way to ensure that we do not face a nuclear accident,” he said.

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