IAEA says creation of nuclear safety zone around Ukrainian power plant ‘urgent imperative’

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant lost power on Saturday, the IAEA director general announced.
  • The plant was converted to backup diesel generators as a result of shelling from the fighting in the area.
  • The creation of a safe zone is “an absolute and urgent imperative,” the IAEA director-general said.

The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Saturday warned that creating a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is an “absolute and urgent imperative” after fighting between Ukraine and Russia saw the plant lose its last remaining external power line .

Artillery shelling damaged the line after midnight Saturday and caused the plant to switch to emergency diesel generators with a limited supply of fuel, IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a news release.

The generators have enough power for 10 days and the IAEAN reported that “efforts are underway to increase the available fuel reserves for the diesel generators,” Grossi said.

“The repeated bombings, which strike the plant’s only source of external power, are terribly irresponsible,” Grossi said in the statement. “The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant must be protected.”

Fighting in Zaporizhzhia has escalated in recent days after Russia declared the province, along with three other Ukrainian provinces, part of Russia on September 30. Kyiv also claimed that Russian forces kidnapped the ZNPP director general during recent fighting in the region.

A continuous power source is necessary to cool the reactors and prevent a nuclear meltdown. The risk of nuclear disaster had previously left Ukrainian forces reluctant to fight in Zaporizhzhia.

Grossi announced that he will travel to Ukraine and Russia to speak with both President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Russian Federation about creating a nuclear safety and protection zone to avoid a “nuclear accident.”

Bombing around ZNPP, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has previously damaged the exterior of buildings, caused power outages and caused a partial blackout.

In August, Zelenskyy claimed that Russian shelling near the ZNPP nearly caused a “radioactive catastrophe” after the facility lost power and had to turn to backup generators.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *