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IAEA: Situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant 'increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 7, 2023 7:33 AM 1 min read
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The situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly worrisome as shelling around the plant continues and Russia forcibly evacuate residents from the area, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

“The general situation in the area near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous. I’m extremely concerned about the very real nuclear safety and security risks facing the plant," IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement on May 6.

IAEA experts present at the plant also received information that an "announced evacuation of residents from the nearby town of (Russian-occupied) Enerhodar, where most of the plant staff live, has started." The staff are closely monitoring the situation and whether it will have any impact on the nuclear safety and security of the plant, the statement said.

The director's plant, Yuri Chernichuk, publicly said that the plant's operating staff are not being evacuated and according to the IAEA statement, "are doing everything necessary to ensure nuclear safety and security at the plant, whose six reactors are all in shutdown mode."

Earlier on April 21, experts currently present at the plant said they had heard shelling almost every day over the past week.

Since Russian forces occupied the plant in March 2022, they have used it as a military base from which they launch attacks at Ukrainian-controlled territory across the Dnipro River, in particular, Nikopol.

The plant, Europe’s largest, has been fully disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid several times due to regular Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure. The power plant is also currently operating with only a quarter of its regular staff, causing concerns about maintenance.

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