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UN watchdog optimistic about Ukraine nuclear plant protection

The head of United Nations Nuclear Watchdog, on Monday 16 January, stated that he hopes for progress in a safe-zone agreement surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. He stressed however that the negotiations were difficult.

In March, Russian forces captured the largest plant of Soviet-era Europe. This happened just days after the invasion in Ukraine. It has been under constant attack in recent months raising fears about a nuclear disaster.

Rafael Grossi, director general of IAEA stated during a visit in Ukraine that the situation surrounding the plant was still extremely dangerous. It is not in the best interests of anyone to have a nuclear accident.

Russia rejected the IAEA’s visit in Russia and its power.


“The IAEA doesn’t have the technical or statutory capabilities to prevent a nuke disaster in the event nuclear power plants are attacked,” Renat Karachaa, an adviser to the CEO of Russian state energy organisation Rosenergoatom, told Russian state TASS news agency.

“IAEA inspectors are therefore ineffective at all nuclear power plants.” They are more politically motivated.

Grossi said that he would love to meet with Volodymyr Zilenskiy, Ukrainian President. However, he acknowledged that brokering a protective area took more time than expected.


He said that no one would choose to be in the zone if it was considered…a military advantage. “I’m trying to convince everyone that this is false. It’s not about preventing nuclear accidents.”

Grossi was making his sixth visit to Ukraine since the February invasion. Grossi was there to put into practice newly announced plans for continuous presence of nuclear safety experts at all Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

He also visited the South Ukraine plant which is located approximately 350km (220 mi) from Kyiv. He was also scheduled to visit the plants of Rivne, Rivne, and Chornobyl. Each facility was assigned a two-person IAEA staff.

According to IAEA, at least four experts are already present at Zaporizhzhia. Khmelnitsky will also be home to a two-member team.

Grossi stated previously that he would broker an deal before 2022 . Grossi stated last week that talks with Moscow, Kyiv were more difficult than expected because they involved not just diplomats, but also military officers.

Moscow and Kyiv accuse one another of attacking Zaporizhzhia.

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