Update 106 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

The site of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was hit by new shelling and explosions this week, breaking windows in one of its turbine halls and once again underlining the urgent need to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.

IAEA experts present at the ZNPP reported to Agency headquarters that shelling took place at around 5pm local time yesterday near the facility’s electrical switchyard, a few hundred meters from the plant’s training centre, but there were no reports of damage. Other explosions were heard further away.

Today at 8am, two explosions occurred near a channel that carries water from a reservoir to the plant for its cooling system, an essential element for nuclear safety. There was no damage to plant structures and equipment, but windows in the turbine hall of reactor unit 2 were broken, the IAEA experts said. According to senior ZNPP operating staff, the cause of the blasts is currently unclear and is being investigated, the Agency experts added.

This week’s shelling and explosions at the ZNPP site come after a few days without any such incidents. They show that the overall situation remains precarious and that immediate action is needed to reduce the risk of a major accident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, now located in the middle of a war zone, Director General Grossi said.

Last week in New York, the Director General began talks with Russia and Ukraine aimed at agreeing and implementing such a zone, and he told the IAEA General Conference yesterday that he was ready to continue consultations in both countries.

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