Conflicts & War

IAEA to propose Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant protection zone at UN

Washington, Oct 26 (EFE).- The general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said Wednesday that on Thursday he will go to the United Nations Security Council to promote the establishment of a protection zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

At the opening of the IAEA Ministerial Conference in Washington, the Argentine diplomat said that he would be absent from the conclave – which will run until Friday – for several hours to go to the UN to request the rapid implementation of a protection zone.

Zaporizhzhia – in southeastern Ukraine on the banks of the Dnieper River – has been occupied by Russian troops since March and the IAEA has reiterated that the repeated interruptions in the plant’s operations show how precarious the nuclear security situation remains at the center, Europe’s largest, during the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.

Grossi last week had said that he was continuing with consultations to achieve an agreement with the parties to create a protection zone and insisted at the time that it is “imperative” to strike a deal on the matter “as soon as possible.”

The IAEA is negotiating with Moscow and Kyiv to ensure that the plant is not a military target for and is not being used by the Russians as a base from which to launch attacks. With that goal in mind, Grossi separately met recently both with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

His speech at the opening of the Ministerial Conference sent a message of solidarity to those on many continents, and in Ukraine in particular, who are experiencing armed conflict.

He said that “we need to avoid” a serious nuclear accident.

The conference in the US capital is being attended by ministers and other political leaders from all over the world, who will discuss the role of atomic energy in general energy security, the mitigation of climate change and sustainable development, according to the IAEA announcement of the event issued in mid-October.

Currently, nuclear power contributes about 10 percent of the world production of electricity and the latest projections by the IAEA are that world nuclear power generation should double between now and 2050.

IAEA executive director Fatih Birol said in his own message that the world is going through its first true “global energy crisis” and he blamed the situation on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm added that the war is forcing countries to determine whether they want their supply of energy to depend on one or more other nations or if they want to generate it “at home,” and she added that now is a good time to consider the use of nuclear energy from the point of view of climate change and energy security.

EFE mgr/ssa/eat/bp

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