Updated Aug 29, 2022 - World

UN nuclear watchdog team leaves for Zaporizhzhia power plant

Russian military vehicles drive through the gates of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar in May. Photo: Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has deployed a team to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the agency's chief said Monday.

Driving the news: International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi's announcement that the IAEA team is "now on its way" and will arrive at the nuclear power station "later this week" comes as reports of shelling near the plant in recent days raise concerns of a potential disaster.

A screenshot of a tweet by the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog announcing a team is on its way to the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine.
Photo: Rafael MarianoGrossi/Twitter

What to expect: Grossi will lead the support and assistance mission to Zaporizhzhya to assess damage, determine the functionality of safety and security systems, evaluate staff conditions and "perform urgent safeguards activities," per an IAEA statement.

The big picture: Putin's forces have maintained military activity at or near Zaporizhzhia plant since seizing Europe's largest nuclear power plant in March.

Go deeper: 42 countries and EU urge Russia to remove military from nuclear plant

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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