The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) insisted on Tuesday on the need to create an exclusion area for military activities around the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, under penalty of an accident of catastrophic proportions.
The need to create a buffer zone [à volta da central nuclear] it is more and more urgent and necessary (…) to exclude this installation from military activities”, said Rafael Grossi, at a press conference in Brussels, on the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (southern Ukraine), the largest of Europe and militarily occupied by Russia.
In August and November of last year, the risk of a nuclear accident increased due to the fighting taking place in that part of Ukrainian territory and the bombardments that hit the area of the complex on several occasions.
Rafael Grossi was this Tuesday in Brussels and at the facilities of the European Parliament (EP) to take stock of the situation in progress on the ground in nuclear safetyto the MEPs.
The director general of the IAEA, a body that is part of the UN system, added that for now there are no indications that a nuclear disaster is imminent, but said he does not know “how long it will be possible” to continue fabricating this declaration.
The Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant is “operate in abnormal circumstances” and therefore needs the support of the IAEA, the representative said.
Rafael Grossi spent the last week in Ukraine to assess the operating conditions of that and other nuclear power plants, whose facilities are damaged after months of clashes between Ukrainian and Russian troops.
Zaporijia differs from other infrastructures, as explained by the general director to the MEPs, because it is “controlled by russiansbut be operated by ukrainiansand luckily with him presence” of an IAEA inspection mission.
However, according to him, the situation could worsen, as there is “increasing information that there will be increased military activity in late winter/early spring.”
Zaporizhia also “does not produce energy” to power Ukraine’s homes and infrastructure, and “reactors are operating at a very low level,” he noted.
They are not like alarms that go on and off, you have to keep them active,” he warned.
The ‘blackout’ in November was “very dangerous”, Grossi insisted before the European parliamentarians, stressing the importance of be able to establish a no combat zone as soon as possiblesince a nuclear accident would be catastrophic for all countries.
Last Wednesday, the IAEA confirmed that it will have inspectors at all nuclear power plants in Ukraine, to reduce the risk of serious accidents, while the Russian invasion of that country continues.
The UN agency already had a permanent presence in Zaporizhia. The IAEA’s permanent presence at all Ukrainian nuclear facilities, with at least 11 staff in total, marks a unprecedented expansion for agency.
IAEA technicians will also be permanently in Chernobyl, where in 1986 the most serious nuclear accident in history occurred.
The Russian military offensive on Ukrainian territory, launched on February 24 last year, plunged Europe into what is considered the most serious security crisis since World War II (1939-1945).