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Fears of lack of access to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returning from Ukraine, said he was “worried” about the nuclear power plant in Russian-controlled Zaporizhia, which the United Nations has been unable to access since the invasion.

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“It is at the top of my list of concerns when it comes to the status of nuclear facilities in Ukraine,” Rafael Grossi told a news conference at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna.

He said that the site “is still under Russian control, and the Ukrainian regulator has no control, but we have to carry out a certain number of tasks as soon as possible, both from the point of view of inspection, monitoring and security.”

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency insisted that “we must return to Zaporizhia, it is very important.”

With this in mind, he held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit.

“Our consultations are continuing, above all with Ukraine but also with Russia,” he said, referring to a meeting with Russian officials “in a few days.”

Asked about the overflying of the site, at a low altitude, with missiles earlier this week, according to Ukrainian authorities, Mr Grossi said he had “received videos”. “We are in the process of verifying but if such a development is confirmed, it would be very dangerous.”

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He also noted the situation at Chernobyl, where he went on Tuesday, 36 years to the day after the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history.

He then judged the level of radioactivity “in the normal range,” statements he repeated Thursday.

Troops sent by Moscow, who captured the plant on February 24, on the first day of the Russian invasion, moved vehicles and equipment and digging trenches in this polluted land, “which naturally caused an increase in radiation.

“But the situation does not pose a great danger to the environment and people,” said Rafael Grossi.

The Chernobyl reactor exploded in 1986 contaminating most of Europe, especially Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Classified as an “exclusion zone” within a 30-kilometer radius around the plant, the area is still heavily polluted and residence is prohibited.

Ukraine has 15 reactors in four operating plants, as well as waste depots such as Chernobyl.

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