The head of the UN’s nuclear power watchdog warned on Saturday that the situation around the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear station has become “potentially dangerous” as Moscow-installed officials began evacuating people from nearby areas.
UN nuclear boss arrives at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia NPP
In a bid to avert the risk of an atomic accident, Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, visited the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear…
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called for measures to ensure the safe operation of Europe’s largest nuclear plant as evacuations were underway in the nearby town of Enerhodar.
“The general situation in the area near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” Grossi said on the agency’s website.
“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 added.
The official said that while the operating staff of the plant remains at the site, the conditions for the personnel and their families are “increasingly tense.”
The Russian-installed governor of the Moscow-controlled part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region said on Friday that he had ordered the evacuation of villages close to the front line as shelling had intensified in the area in recent days.
Director General @rafaelmgrossi said evacuation of residents at Enerhodar, where most of staff from #Ukraine’s #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant live, has started. @iaeaorg is closely monitoring for any potential impact on nuclear safety and security.https://t.co/RvzRP8WL46 pic.twitter.com/BWuUbbcWxY
— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency ⚛️ (@iaeaorg) May 6, 2023
A widely expected Ukrainian spring counter-offensive against Russian forces is viewed as likely to take in the Zaporizhzhia region, around 80 percent of which is held by Moscow.
Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia plant days after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of his neighbor in February 2022. Exchanges of fire have frequently occurred near the facility, with each side blaming the other.