IAEA in talks with Ukraine, Russia on sealing deal on safety zone around ZNPP as soon as possible - Grossi

IAEA in talks with Ukraine, Russia on sealing deal on safety zone around ZNPP as soon as possible - Grossi

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Raphael Grossi, on Thursday briefed members of the UN Security Council at a closed-door session on the situation at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

The meeting was convened at Russia’s request to discuss the allegations of Ukraine preparing to deploy a "dirty bomb" on its own soil, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

After the meeting, Grossi told reporters that he was "very concerned" about the possibility of a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhia NPP.

He noted that the IAEA, at the request of the Ukrainian government, will send inspectors to two facilities in Ukraine to verify Russia's claims about the alleged preparation of a "dirty bomb". In addition, according to the top IAEA official, in the coming weeks the IAEA plans to send experts to other NPPs in Ukraine – Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, South Ukrainian, and Chornobyl.

Read also: IAEA to inspect Ukrainian nuclear facilities to refute Russian "dirty bomb" false claims

An IAEA statement released Thursday said at the nuclear power plant, which is temporarily occupied by Russian troops, the experts are working to stabilize external power supplies after repeated blackouts seen earlier this month. The NPP temporarily depended on emergency diesel generators.

At the moment, the ZNPP also has backup power – from the nearby thermal power plant. The switchboard, through which power is supplied from a backup source, was damaged by shelling on October 19 before being repaired next day, according to the statement.

At the same time, according to Grossi, the power supply situation at the ZNPP remains vulnerable – only one 750 kV external transmission line is operating instead of the four that were in operation before the invasion – and could deteriorate at any moment.

Early October, ZNPP’s connection to the external power line was interrupted three times. During two of these, emergency diesel generators provided power as the backup system was also disabled.

Therefore, the creation of a safety zone around the facility remains a top priority, the IAEA Director General emphasized.

Over the last weeks, Grossi participated in the negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, aimed at reaching an agreement on the issue as soon as possible.

Grossi noted that Ukrainian staffers continue to work at the ZNPP, but Russian technicians are also present at the site. The Russian Federation has announced that it has taken the facility under its control, the official recalled.

Read also: Russia’s nuclear blackmail: Kuleba, Colonna coordinate steps within UN and IAEA

At the same time, the IAEA Director General made it clear that he considers the ZNPP as a Ukrainian plant, and expressed concern about possible confusion in the system of subordination regarding its operation, which could affect nuclear and radiation safety.

For example, Ukrainian personnel planned to restart power unit 5, but now it remains in a "hot shutdown" mode, as Russian officials did not agree to restart it.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, two meetings of the UN Security Council were held on Thursday at the request of Russia, at which the latter spread its fake allegations: about the “U.S. bio labs in Ukraine” and about Ukraine “plotting a ‘dirty bomb’ attack on its own territory.”

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