Out of fear of a nuclear accident caused by the war in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia, is now being inspected for the first time by a team of international experts. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission arrived at the plant on Thursday after weeks of preparation.
The work should initially take several days. The IAEA is aiming for a permanent mission there. The power plant in southern Ukraine has been occupied by Russian troops for six months. Again and again it is under attack – again on Thursday. Both warring parties blame each other for this.
The 14 experts led by IAEA boss Rafael Grossi only reached the power plant after a dangerous journey. The convoy had to stop several times in order not to come under fire itself. “We have a very important mission to fulfill,” said Grossi.
The IAEA team arrived in Zaporizhia around 13:15 CEST. Shortly before, the power plant had been fired upon, reported the Ukrainian operating company Enerhoatom. Grossi emphasized on the descent that he was aware of the dangers.
But the mission is too important to call off at the last moment. After the first visit, he said: “We looked at a lot today and started with the first evaluation.” But the real work is only beginning now.
Grossi said in a video that evening that the IAEA would establish a permanent presence at the power plant. Russia had shown itself open to a permanent IAEA mission at the power plant.
Kyiv, on the other hand, insists on the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and a demilitarization of the power plant area. The IAEA mission should represent the first step.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised support but called for “objectivity” from the team. With six reactors – two of which are currently in operation – and a capacity of 5700 megawatts, it is the most powerful nuclear plant in Europe.