IAEA: Situation near ZNPP becoming unpredictable, potentially dangerous

IAEA: Situation near ZNPP becoming unpredictable, potentially dangerous

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts present at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) have received information that the announced evacuation of residents from the nearby town of Enerhodar – where most plant staff live – has started.

A relevant statement by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi was released on Saturday evening.

While operating staff remain at the site, Director General Grossi expressed deep concern about the increasingly tense, stressful, and challenging conditions for personnel – and their families – at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP), located by the frontline in a southern Ukrainian region that has seen a recent increase in military presence and activity.

The IAEA experts at the site are continuing to hear shelling on a regular basis, including late on Friday.

“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. We must act now to prevent the threat of a severe nuclear accident and its associated consequences for the population and the environment,” he said.

As noted, the IAEA experts received information about the situation regarding the evacuation in the town announced on Friday.

ZNPP Director Yuri Chernichuk has publicly stated that operating staff are not being evacuated and that they are doing everything necessary to ensure nuclear safety and security at the plant, whose six reactors are all in shutdown mode. He also said that plant equipment is maintained in accordance with all necessary nuclear safety and security regulations.

Since the beginning of the plant’s capture, the number of ZNPP staff has gradually declined but site management has stated that it has remained sufficient for the safe operation of the plant.

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