The UN nuclear watchdog has called for an immediate end to all military action near Ukraine Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after it was hit by shelling, causing one of the reactors to shut down and creating a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of International Atomic Energy The agency said it was “extremely concerned” by reports of damage to the facility and called on IAEA experts to be allowed to inspect the damage.
“I am extremely concerned about the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plantunderscoring the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” he said.
Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said the attack had damaged a power cable, forced one of the reactors to stop working, and “there is still a risk of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances, and the risk of fire is also high”. The shelling “has caused a serious risk to the safe operation of the facility”, Grossi said.
“Military action that endangers the safety and security of the nuclear power plant is completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs. Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would be tantamount to playing with fire with potentially catastrophic consequences.”
Kiev accuses Russian troops of storing heavy weapons at the factory, which it seized in March and continues to occupy. Moscow, in turn, has accused Ukrainian forces of attacking it.
Grossi called for an IAEA team of safety, security and security experts, led by himself, to be allowed to visit the plant.
The EU criticized Russia over “military activities” around the facility. “The EU condemns Russia’s military activities around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” said Josep Borrell, EU foreign affairs chief. “This is a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms.”