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IAEA’s Grossi calls situation at Ukrainian nuclear plant ‘serious’ | Russia-Ukraine war news

The head of the UN Atomic Energy Agency inspects the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant after the dam collapsed.

The situation at Russia-occupied Ukraine’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is “serious” but is stabilizing, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

Grossi arrived at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Thursday to assess potential safety risks following the partial collapse of the Kakhovka dam, which caused widespread flooding and raised concerns about the safety of the facility.

The plant has been shut down, but it still needs water to cool the fuel and spent fuel in the reactor to prevent a meltdown. It uses a cooling pool to keep its six reactors from overheating. The Kakhovka Reservoir is normally used to refill the ponds, but that can no longer be done because of the drop in water levels caused by the rupture, officials said.

Instead, ponds separate from reservoirs could be replenished using wells deep underground, they said.

“On the one hand, we can see that the situation is serious,” Grossi said during a tour of the factory. “as a result of [of the dam’s destruction] There they are real. “

“In the meantime, steps are being taken to stabilize the situation.”

Rafael Grossi
Members of the IAEA mission inspected the status of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant last week after a dam used to cool the facility’s reactors burst following an explosion [International Atomic Energy Agency/Handout via Reuters]

He said it was unrealistic to expect Moscow and Kiev to sign a document on the security of the site when there was fighting nearby. He also said that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would remain on site.

“We have a political agreement in [United Nations] security council. It is unrealistic to reach a written agreement at this stage because, as we know, there are no peace or ceasefire talks between the parties,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Grossi as saying.

Grossi’s trip to the Zaporizhzhia factory was delayed by a day for security reasons as heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops continued.

Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent them into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian troops seized the nuclear power plant and the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.

Grossi has repeatedly called for an end to fighting near the facility to avoid any catastrophic accidents.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the facility, which has repeatedly cut power lines. The factory has a diesel generator and also has an alternative water source.

Reporting from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hell said any damage to the plant could have “catastrophic consequences”.

“Given its location close to the front lines, it is difficult to overstate the kind of danger posed to this potentially dangerous site.

“[Grossi] Obviously somewhat reassuring about what’s going on there,” he added.

The RIA news agency quoted Alexei Likhachev, head of Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom, as saying that during his visit Grossi observed the safety measures the plant was taking to ensure safety after the dam breach.

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