IAEA concerned about explosion near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

IAEA concerned about explosion near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
IAEA concerned about explosion near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Vienna, June 14 (EFE).- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned of an explosion in the vicinity of the Ukrainian Zaporizhia atomic plant (ZNNP) which, although it did not cause damage, increases concerns about the risk. nuclear accident caused by the fighting in the area.

The agency’s team of experts deployed in the ZNNP “reported hearing explosions, including near the plant, several days last week,” the IAEA, the UN nuclear agency, said in a statement.

The experts later confirmed with plant operators that one of the mines located next to the ZNPP cooling pond area exploded on June 11.

“The explosion did not cause material damage or casualties, and the cause of the explosion was not communicated to the IAEA team,” the note adds.

For the organization’s general director, Rafael Grossi, “this latest explosion, so close to the plant, is a cause for serious concern and aggravates an already fragile situation.”

The Argentine diplomat insists in the note on the importance of “not compromising” either the security of the facility – which, located in the southeast of Ukraine, is the largest atomic power plant in Europe – nor nuclear security in general in the country invaded by Russia.

A day before the explosion, IAEA experts inspected one of the electrical substations in the nearby town of Enerhodar to see the impact of “an alleged bombing that, according to the ZNPP, occurred on June 8,” reports the release.

“The alleged bombing caused a fire and damage to the substation that serves the Enerhodar town hall building, where the main communications hub between the ZNPP and Enerhodar is located,” and where despite what happened there were no outages, he explains.

The Zaporizhzhia plant has been occupied by Russia since March 2022 and its six reactors are in cold shutdown in order to improve their overall safety.

Although this measure reduces the risk of accidents, Grossi has repeatedly warned of the fragility of the situation, as the plant continues to face risks in the midst of fighting between Russian troops and the Ukrainian army.

In September 2022, the IAEA sent a team of experts to monitor the situation on the ground and report regularly to the agency’s headquarters in Vienna.

Since then, twenty teams of international specialists have rotated on site, thereby “crossing the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine to reach the plant.”

The IAEA has been calling for months to establish a security zone around Zaporizhzhia, free of combat, to avoid an accident. EFE

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