Russia blocks IAEA access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactors for first time

January 5,2024 1198
Russia blocks IAEA access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactors for first time

For the first time ever, Russians have denied International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts access to inspect the reactor halls of three power units at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the agency reported.

This is the first time that IAEA experts have not been granted access to a reactor hall of a unit that was in cold shutdown. This is where the reactor core and spent fuel are located. The team will continue to request this access,” IAEA added.

The occupiers are preventing experts from accessing the reactor halls of power units 1, 2, and 6. Access to some parts of the turbine halls at ZNPP is also still restricted.

Underlining the continued dangers facing the plant, the IAEA team has in recent weeks continued to hear regular explosions some distance away from the site. Five of the ZNPP’s six reactors remain in cold shutdown, while unit 4 is in hot shutdown to produce steam and heat, including for the nearby town of Enerhodar, where most plant staff live,” the agency’s statement reads.

Blocking IAEA experts’ access to ZNPP reactor halls is a move by Russian occupiers aimed at hiding the actual situation at the station, stated Petro Kotin, Head of the Ukrainian National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom.

Kotin highlighted that Energoatom, the sole legitimate operator of Europe’s largest nuclear facility, ZNPP, underscores the necessity of the station’s full return under Ukraine’s control to guarantee its nuclear and radiation safety.

“The only solution is the complete demilitarization and de-occupation of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and adjacent territories. This is a key prerequisite for restoring nuclear safety and respect for international law,” Kotin said.

Cover: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

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