Conflicts & War

Russia offers ‘unconditional’ support to IAEA mission at Zaporizhzhia plant

Moscow, Sep 7 (EFE).- Russia has offered unconditional support to the UN nuclear watchdog to ensure safety at the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia atomic plant in war-torn Ukraine.

“We are ready and obliged unconditionally to provide all possible assistance and support to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) specialists working at the Zaporizhzhya NPP to ensure its safety,” Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev said in an interview with the official RossiyaTV 24.

The head of the Russian nuclear corporation spoke on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum currently underway in the Russian port city of Vladivostok.

He said the corporation was making all-out efforts to ensure safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility, the largest atomic plant in Europe.

The Russian forces have held the Ukrainian plant since early March even as its Ukrainian staff continues to operate it.

“(That) is our mission. We have done, are doing, and will do everything possible for the safety of the Zaporizhzhya NPP,” Likhachev said.

He said Rosatom would maintain contact with the IAEA team led by Director-General Rafael Grossi even after the end of the mission.

The Rosatom chief highlighted the courage of the IAEA experts who traveled to the nuclear power plant in the conflict zone.

He welcomed the report presented by the IAEA Director-General to the UN.

“The main result of the visit of the IAEA experts was their confirmation of shelling, which poses a huge threat to the nuclear facility,” he said.

The UN Security Council met on Tuesday at the request of Russia to deal with the situation in Zaporizhzhia.

The council met hours after the watchdog published a 52-page report prepared by IAEA inspectors in Vienna.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, called for a demilitarised zone around the nuclear plant, involving the withdrawal of Russian troops and the agreement of Ukrainian forces not to move in.

The IAEA report said its inspectors “closely witnessed shelling in the vicinity of the power plant, in particular on Sep.3 when the team was instructed to evacuate to the ground level of the administrative building”.

However, the report did not say who was responsible for “the ongoing shelling (that) has not yet triggered a nuclear emergency.”

“It continues to represent a constant threat to nuclear safety and security with potential impact on critical safety functions that may lead to radiological consequences with great safety significance,” the inspectors wrote. EFE


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