Apr 27, 2022 - World

UN atomic energy chief wants access to Ukrainian nuclear plant under Russian control

Picture of Rafael Grossi

International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi. Photo: Georges Schneider/Xinhua via Getty Images

The International Atomic Energy Agency's chief said Wednesday that his organization is seeking access to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which is currently under Russian control but in need of repairs.

Driving the news: Rafael Grossi told AP that his agency must reach the largest nuclear plant in Europe because "the situation as I have described it, and I would repeat it today, is not sustainable as it is."

  • "So this is a pending issue. This is a red light blinking," he added.
  • Inspectors need to reestablish connections with the IAEA's headquarters, and for that to happen, support from both Russia and Ukraine is required.

State of play: Grossi said he spoke about the matter with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who suggested that inspectors should not enter the facility when it is not under Ukrainian authority.

  • Grossi said he would be meeting with Russian officials "soon" to talk further, AP notes.

The big picture: Since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion, several nuclear plants have been seized and are controlled by Russian forces, which increases the risk of mismanagement and a possible incident.

  • As a result, Grossi has traveled to Ukraine to deliver assistance for the nuclear facilities in an effort to "help avert the risk of an accident that could endanger people and the environment," per the IAEA.

Zoom out: Early in the invasion, Russians temporarily took over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which is inoperative but still manages the fallout of the 1986 disaster and stores and processes nuclear waste.

  • Grossi said Tuesday during his visit to the plant that the seizure had been "absolutely abnormal and very, very dangerous."

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