UN warns stability of Ukraine’s nuclear plant is ‘extremely grave’ under Russian control – New York Post

The UN nuclear chief on Tuesday warned that the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine “is completely out of control” — and called on both Moscow and Kyiv to allow experts to access and inspect the site in a bid to avoid a potential catastrophe.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the state of the Zaporizhzhia plant in the city of Enerhodar, which has been under Russian control since early March, is deteriorating by the day.

“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” Grossi said. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous.”

Grossi listed many violations of the plant’s safety, adding that it is “in a place where active war is ongoing,” near Russian-controlled territory.

The physical integrity of the facility housing nuclear reactors hasn’t been respected, he said, citing shelling at the beginning of the war when it was taken over and continuing information from Ukraine and Russia accusing each other of attacks at Zaporizhzhia.

The New York Times reported on Monday, citing accounts from Ukrainian officials, that Russians have been shelling towns from a position inside the nuclear plant, knowing that Ukrainian forces would not strike back for fear of triggering a nuclear blast.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that every principle of nuclear safety has been violated at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said every principle of nuclear safety has been violated at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Getty Images
Europe's largest nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, has been under Russian control since March.
Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, has been under Russian control since March.
AP

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency announced last month that it had used a suicide drone to attack Russian positions at the plant, killing three and injuring 12. 

Speaking on Tuesday, Grossi explained that there is “a paradoxical situation” in which the plant is controlled by Russia, but its Ukrainian staff continues to run its nuclear operations, leading to inevitable clashes and alleged violence, he said. While the IAEA has some contacts with staff, they are “faulty” and “patchy,” he said.

Grossi said the supply chain of equipment and spare parts has been interrupted, “so we are not sure the plant is getting all it needs.”

The IAEA also needs to perform key inspections to ensure that nuclear material is being safeguarded, “and there is a lot of nuclear material there to be inspected,” he said.

The UN official pleaded to allow experts to access the plant and inspect the nuclear reactors.
The UN official pleaded to allow experts to access the plant and inspect the nuclear reactors.
via REUTERS

“When you put this together, you have a catalog of things that should never be happening in any nuclear facility,” Grossi said. “And this is why I have been insisting from day one that we have to be able to go there to perform this safety and security evaluation, to do the repairs and to assist as we already did in Chernobyl.”

The Russian capture of Zaporizhzhia renewed fears that the largest of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors could be damaged, setting off another emergency like the 1986 Chernobyl accident — the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Russian forces occupied the heavily contaminated site soon after the Feb. 24 invasion but handed control back to the Ukrainians at the end of March.

Grossi visited Chernobyl on April 27 and tweeted that the level of safety was “like a ‘red light’ blinking.” But he said Tuesday that since then, the IAEA’s assistance mission at Chernobyl has been “very, very successful.”

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency announced last month that it had used a suicide drone to attack Russian positions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Ukraine’s military intelligence agency announced last month that it had used a suicide drone to attack Russian positions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Defence Inteligence of Ukraine

The IAEA needs to go to Zaporizhzhia, as it did to Chernobyl, to see what is actually happening there, to carry out repairs and inspections, and “to prevent a nuclear accident from happening,” Grossi said.

The IAEA chief said he and his team need safe passage to access the plant and the urgent cooperation of both Russia and Ukraine.

“The IAEA, by its presence, will be a deterrent to any act of violence against this nuclear power plant,” Grossi said. “So I’m pleading as an international civil servant, as the head of an international organization, I’m pleading to both sides to let this mission proceed.”

With Post wires

Sorgente articolo:
UN warns stability of Ukraine’s nuclear plant is ‘extremely grave’ under Russian control – New York Post

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