Conflicts & War

Ukraine, Russia interested in creating safe zone at Zaporizhzhia, says IAEA

Vienna, Sep 12 (EFE).- Ukraine and Russia are interested in establishing a safety and security protection zone around the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the UN nuclear watchdog said Monday.

Russia, which occupies the plant since March, and Ukraine should “agree on a very simple principle of not attacking, not shelling the plant,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Rafael Grossi said during a press conference in Vienna.

“I have seen signs that they (both sides) are interested in this agreement,” he added, stressing that the creation of a safe zone around the nuclear plant would prevent a possible nuclear accident should the plant sustain damage amid the war.

In recent weeks, several external power lines that supply the plant with electricity have been interrupted amid a series of shelling.

Grossi said the main issue was the nuclear plant had all external electrical power cut and was later put on “island mode,” adding this was not a sustainable situation.

In a bid to avoid possible technical problems, the last operating reactor at Zaporizhzhia was switched off last week.

Despite the Russian occupation of the plant, the technical decisions on its operation are made by the Kyiv-based Ukrainian nuclear operator, which Grossi called a unique situation.

Since the beginning of September, two IAEA inspectors have been in Zaporizhzhia to regularly report on the state of the plant to the Vienna-based nuclear agency.

Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of bombing the plant and its surroundings. EFE


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