The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday it was “extremely concerned” by the shelling on Friday of the Zaporozhskaya Nuclear Power Plant. The risk of a potential nuclear disaster at what is Europe’s largest nuclear power station is “very real,” it warned, adding that not only would Ukraine be affected but other nations as well.
“Military action jeopardizing the safety and security of the Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant is completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs,” the UN nuclear watchdog’s director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said in a statement. Targeting the facility with any “military firepower” would amount to “playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” he added.
The IAEA also suggested sending a delegation to the site to “provide technical support for nuclear safety and security” and to “help prevent the situation from spiraling even more out of control.” Grossi said he was ready to lead such a delegation personally.
The mission would “conduct essential verification activities at the plant” and deliver nuclear safety and security equipment, the agency’s statement said. Yet, for this to happen, the IAEA would require UN support, as well as “cooperation, understanding and facilitation” from both Moscow and Kiev, the statement added. “We must all set aside our differences and act, now,” the agency said, adding that “we cannot afford to lose any more time.”