The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is calling for urgent action to prevent a nuclear accident following its initial investigations into the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. "The IAEA remains seriously concerned about the situation," IAEA chief Rafael Grossi wrote in his investigation report on Tuesday. The situation is "unsustainable".
It is therefore urgently necessary to set up a nuclear safety zone around the nuclear power plant occupied by Russian troops, said Grossi. All sides involved in the conflict would have to agree on this in order to prevent even more serious damage from hostilities and the release of radioactivity.
An IAEA team led by Grossi traveled to the power plant last week after months of negotiations and preparations to analyze the security situation and set up a presence there for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Two IAEA experts are now permanently on site.
The repeated shelling of the facility, for which Kyiv and Moscow blame each other, damaged the roofs of storage sites for radioactive material. In addition, part of the radiation measurement system is currently not working.
IAEA: Personnel situation untenable
The situation of the Ukrainian employees of the nuclear power plant, who have been working under Russian occupation for months, is also untenable, the report said. There is not enough staff. The remaining experts are exposed to such high levels of stress that operating errors can occur. They would also not have access to all parts of the facility.
The IAEA expressed concern about repeated power cuts to cool reactor cores and nuclear waste. The report also stated that the nuclear power plant's emergency center was not fully operational due to the Russian occupation and had no internet connection. The company fire brigade is no longer stationed directly on site, but in the nearby town of Enerhodar, it said.