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Watchdog raises alarms over shelling at Ukrainian nuclear plant

grossi
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at a press conference about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

A watchdog agency has raised concerns over Russian forces shelling a Ukrainian nuclear plant as Moscow’s invasion of the country continues. 

In a statement on Sunday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi expressed his concern over the shelling attack at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, noting that Ukrainian authorities have informed the agency that the attack has caused damage to the plant’s external power supply system, leaving only two working power lines. 

Ukrainian authorities also said that the shelling has caused damage to the plant’s emergency protection system and one of its three operating reactors, according to the agency.

“According to Ukraine, there has been no damage to the reactors themselves and no radiological release. However, there is damage elsewhere on the site,” Grossi said in his statement. “Military action jeopardizing the safety and security of the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant is completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs.” 

Grossi also noted that Russia’s attack has also breached several of the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that he outlined at the beginning of the conflict. 

“I strongly and urgently appeal to all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility, with its six reactors,” Grossi added. “And I condemn any violent acts carried out at or near the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant or against its staff.”

In his daily presidential address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there needs to be an international response to Moscow’s shelling of the power plant, saying that “no one will stop the wind that will spread the radioactive contamination.”

This comes as Ukrainian officials have confirmed that Russia has begun its attack on the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the eastern part of the Donetsk region of the country, with region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko writing in a social media post that five individuals died due to the attacks as 14 others were wounded.

 “Therefore, a principled response of the international community to these Russian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia NPP – the largest in Europe – is needed right now,” Zelenksy said in his daily address.

Tags Donetsk e International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear plants Rafael Mariano Grossi Rafael Mariano Grossi Russia-Ukraine conflict Russian invasion of Ukraine Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
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