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UN nuclear watchdog warns situation at Europe's largest plant 'very dangerous'

IAEA says Zaporizhzhia Plant lost power six times since Russian invasion

Ukraine  Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (File) A view shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant | Reuters

The United Nations nuclear watchdog warned on Tuesday that the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was very dangerous. Zaporizhzhia plant is Europe's largest nuclear facility. 

Rafael Grossi, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency said that situation at the plant was very dangerous and very unstable. Grossi said since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the plant lost power six times and it had to depend on diesel generators to cool reactors.

IAEA had been demanding a safety zone around the plant to prevent a nuclear disaster. Russia and Ukraine had been accusing each other of launching strikes targeting the plant. The Guardian quoted Grossi saying, “I am confident that it might be possible to establish some form of protection, perhaps not emphasising so much the idea of a zone, but on the protection itself: what people should do, or shouldn’t do to protect (the plant) instead of having a territorial concept.”

Grossi warned that intensified combat in the area has increased risks to the facility. “There is an increased level of combat, active combat in the area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. My teams there report daily about the attacks, the sound of heavy weaponry. This is practically constant,” Grossi said.

Grossi said a deal to secure a safety zone around the plant was close. “I think it's close. Obviously, I need a political commitment, and political decision. And in this case, what I want to stress is that what they would be agreeing is on the protection of the plant. They are not agreeing with each other. They are agreeing with the IAEA. They are agreeing with nuclear safety and security. This is a very important element which I believe should be taken into consideration,” Grossi said.

Grossi on Monday met with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed safety of the plant. IAEA recently said the plant is in a precarious situation and advised both nations should come forward to set up safety zone around the plant.  

Ukraine's state-run hydropower agency on Tuesday raised concerns that the plant could face shortage of water to cool reactors during late summer since Russian forces have let water out of a reservoir that supplies the plant. 

(With PTI inputs.)

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