Top U.N. Nuclear Inspector Visits Ukraine Plant in Zaporizhzhia

June 15, 2023

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Chief of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), visited the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday.

Grossi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday to discuss concerns about the nuclear power plant—the largest in Europe—which is currently occupied by invading Russian forces, though the plant is still operated by Ukrainians, and the IAEA has officials stationed there as well.

The plant has repeatedly been caught in the crossfire and forced to run on backup systems in the 16 months since Russia invaded Ukraine and quickly seized the facility. 

Last week’s destruction of the Kakhovka dam in the Kherson region only added to concerns, as the dam supplies cooling water to the Zaporizhzhia power plant.

The plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months, but it still needs power and staff to operate crucial systems and safety features.

On Thursday afternoon Grossi called the situation in Zaporizhzhia “serious” following the dam’s destruction, but said it was being stabilized.

“On the one hand, we can see that the situation is serious, the consequences are there, and they are real,” the nuclear inspector said during his visit. “At the same time, there are measures that are being taken to stabilize the situation.”

It was Grossi’s third visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant since the Ukraine-Russia war began in February 2022.

PHOTO Source: IAEA, September 2022

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