The mission to the Zaporizhia NPP is complicated by shelling, the reactor is shut down

The mission to the Zaporizhia NPP is complicated by shelling, the reactor is shut down
The mission to the Zaporizhia NPP is complicated by shelling, the reactor is shut down

Kyiv/Moscow – Today’s planned mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Russian-occupied Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which set off on its way to the facility this morning, is being complicated by military activities in the area. The Ukrainian energy company Enerhoatom announced that one of the reactors had to be shut down due to Russian mortar shelling. Russia is talking about an airdrop that it says was carried out by Ukrainian forces near the town of Enerhodar in an attempt to attack the power plant. Today, both Kyiv and Moscow again accused themselves of provocations, the aim of which is to make the inspection impossible.

“As a result of another mortar attack by the Russian occupying forces on the site of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, emergency protection was triggered and the operating fifth energy unit was shut down,” Enerhoatom said, adding that the sixth unit of the power plant is still in operation. In the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, these two of the total six units have been in operation so far.

According to Enerhoatom, the backup line of the electrical transmission system was damaged by shelling. Disconnected from the grid, unit 2 was shut down and is now powered by diesel generators. “Ukrainian personnel of the plant are doing everything to eliminate damage to its infrastructure,” Enerhoatom said.

The Ukrainian mayor of the city, Dmytro Orlov, said today that Russia has been shelling the city of Enerhodar, near which the power plant is located, since the morning hours. “Since five o’clock in the morning, the mortar shelling of the city has not stopped. Machine gun fire can be heard. It is known that several civilian objects have been hit. There are wounded. We are finding out exactly how many” stated Ukrainian mayor.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian forces carried out an airdrop near Enerhodar this morning. Now they are allegedly being attacked by the Russian Air Force, the ministry said, adding that the “provocation” was aimed at making the upcoming IAEA inspection impossible.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headed towards the power plant this morning from the city of Zaporizhia controlled by Ukrainian forces, so they will have to cross the front line. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi stressed in the morning that the mission would continue despite increased military activity in the area.

The governor of the Zaporozhye region, Oleksandr Staruch, later said that the “advance part” had to cut the road for security reasons, as Russian forces shelled the approach route. He also called on Russia to stop its provocations and allow the IAEA access to Ukraine’s nuclear facility.

According to Grossi’s elders, the initial inspection should last several days, while the IAEA hopes that it will then be able to establish a permanent presence of its experts at the power plant. Russia is said to have provided guarantees that the 14 international experts participating in the current expedition will be able to carry out their work at the facility.

The situation surrounding the power plant, which is the largest facility of its kind in Europe, raises concerns in Ukraine and the world about a possible nuclear disaster. Last week, according to the Ukrainian authorities, two reactors still operating were temporarily disconnected from the grid due to a fire at the site. According to the agencies, the authorities have started distributing iodine tablets to residents in its vicinity, which are used to protect health in the event of a radiation leak.

The power plant is still kept running by Ukrainian employees, but they are under the supervision of Russian invasion units and experts. Kyiv is seeking international assistance in demilitarizing the facility as well as retaking control of the power plant and its surroundings. Ukraine accuses Russia of using the power plant as a shield, storing weapons there and launching attacks from its vicinity. Both countries blame each other for shelling the power plant.

Russia Ukraine diplomacy fight nuclear energy

The article is in Czech

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