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Russian Invasion: Integrity of Ukraine power plant violated repeatedly −IAEA Chief

Rafael Grossi, Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at the Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant During Inspection of the Facility Photo: NewsArchive

*Rafael Grossi, Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has disclosed ‘it is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant have been violated several times’

*It is high time to stop playing with fire and instead take concrete measures to protect this nuclear power facility…. −Red Cross

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

has revealed the “physical integrity” of a Russian-held Ukrainian nuclear plant had been violated repeatedly, following frequent shelling by the Russian forces during the team’s first visit to the facility Thursday, September 1, 2022.

ConsumerConnect reports Rafael Grossi, Head of the team, stated Thursday in a chat with reporters  shortly after the IAEA team’s visit to the nuclear power facility.

The Ukranian Nuclear Power Plant

It is recalled the Russian forces seized control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, Europe’s largest, and the surrounding region shortly after the February 24 Russian invasion.

However, both Ukrainian and Russian sides have traded blame for recent shelling near the nuclear plant lying on the frontline, sparking fears of a nuclear disaster.

A 14-strong team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived at the facility on Thursday to conduct “security and safeguards activities” after a risky journey across the frontline and early-morning shelling of the area, agency report noted.

Grossi also told reporters that “it is obvious that the plant and physical integrity of the plant have been violated several times.”

The Head of the visiting team further said part of the IAEA mission will stay at Zaporizhzhia “until Sunday or Monday” to continue the assessment, without specifying their number.

The Argentine described the visit as productive and said he gathered lots of information, report said.

Wearing bright blue flak jackets and helmets, the IAEA team crossed into Russian-held territory, reaching the facility at around 1200 GMT.

After the inspection, in a video released by the Russian RIA Novosti news agency, Grossi said: “We have achieved something very important today, and the important thing is the IAEA is staying here.”

It was learnt that a dawn shelling attack on the area had forced one of the plant’s six reactors to close.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear agency, said it was “the second time in 10 days” that Russian shelling had forced the closure of a reactor.

It said the plant’s emergency protection system kicked in shortly before 5:00 a.m

(0200 GMT), shutting reactor five, with the attack damaging a back-up power supply.

‘Stop playing with,’ says Red Cross

Meanwhile, Robert Mardini, Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told reporters in Kyiv, Ukraine, that “it is high time to stop playing with fire and instead take concrete measures to protect this facility… from any military operations.”

Mardini warned of the consequences of hitting the plant could be “catastrophic”.

He said: “The slightest miscalculation could trigger devastation that we will regret for decades.”

After Russian forces seized the plant on March 4, Energoatom shut two reactors, followed by a third after shelling on August 5 this year.

With a fourth undergoing repairs, Thursday’s incident leaves only one of the six reactors working.

“Encouraging” the IAEA team was inspecting the plant because the stakes were “immense”, Mardini said.

Sequel to the IAEA leaving Zaporizhzhia, Grossi said his team would be travelling through areas where “the risks are significant”, but had decided to go ahead anyway due to the “very important mission to accomplish.”

In the meantime, the Ukrainian troops reportedly pressed ahead with a counter-offensive in the nearby region of Kherson to retake areas seized by Russia at the start of the invasion.

In its morning update, the Ukrainian Presidency said “heavy explosions continued for the last 24 hours” across Kherson, while five people were killed, and 12 others wounded in the eastern Donetsk region.

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