UN watchdog sees deal ‘soon’ on securing Ukraine nuclear power plant – Reuters
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi says Russia and Ukraine are ‘moving forward’ on an agreement to halt bombings around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, a deal being expected « soon ».
The UN’s nuclear safety watchdog has been trying for months to negotiate an agreement for a safe zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently occupied by Russian troops but still occupied by Ukrainian employees.
« Although the plant itself has been relatively quiet for the past few weeks after suffering heavy bombardment about a month ago, the clear sound of military activity can still be heard in the vicinity of the facility, underscoring continuing nuclear safety and security risks, » the IAEA said in its latest update Friday.
Grossi met Thursday in Moscow with the boss of Russian Rosatom, who has taken over the management of Zaporizhzhia. He also met with Ukrainian officials.
“Consultations with both parties will continue in the near future,” the agency added.
The Ukrainian government opposes any measure that would signal recognition of Russia’s presence at the plant.
Last week, German Galushchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister, called on allied countries to provide Ukraine with advanced air defense systems to counter Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure and to expansion of the IAEA on-site safety mission.
Zaporizhzhia does not currently produce electricity for the Ukrainian grid. External power lines provide electricity for « essential nuclear safety and security functions », while mobile diesel generators and boilers provide heat to employees and emergency backup power, the agency said. IAEA.