Head of International Atomic Energy Agency says shelling at Zaporizhzhia plant underlines ‘very real risk of a nuclear disaster’
The UN nuclear watchdog has called for an immediate end to all military action near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it was hit by shelling, causing one of the reactors to shut down and creating a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was “extremely concerned” by reports of damage at the plant and called for IAEA experts to be allowed to inspect the damage.
“I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” he said.
The Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said the attack had damaged a power cable and forced one of the reactors to stop working, and that “there are still risks of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances, and the risk of fire is also high”. The shelling “has caused a serious risk for the safe operation of the plant”, Grossi said.
“Military action jeopardising the safety and security of the nuclear power plant is completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs. Any military firepower directed at or from the facility would amount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences.”