IAEA Demands Security Zone Around Zaporizhzhia

The International Atomic Energy Agency called on Tuesday for security protection and nuclear safety zone to be set up around Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) detailing the extensive damage its inspectors found during their visit to the Russian-occupied facility.

The UN nuclear watchdog issued a report on the situation at ZNPP, where the agency has established a presence of two inspectors after its team of experts led by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled there last week to assess the situation.

In a television interview from Vienna several hours later, Grossi warned they’re playing with fire and told CNN the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continues to be very worrying.

Stressing that nuclear security is indispensable, Grossi pointed out that creating a nuclear security and safety zone around ZNPP is within the IAEA’s mandate to protect the safety and security of the facility and the people there.

IAEA report also recommended improving working conditions for some 9,000 Ukrainian staff currently operating the plant, warning that the constant high stress and pressure that they are under could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.

The team’s grave concerns about the risks of a nuclear accident are enticed, above all, by the fact that the facility has been continually shelled and fought over, calling the current situation not sustainable and demanding interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused on the facility.

The IAEA announced its intentions to start consultations with both Ukraine as the operator of the plant and Russia, which is its de facto occupier, to reach the necessary agreement about establishing such a security zone since both countries are blaming one another for shelling around the plant.