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The director of the UN Atomic Watchdog is traveling to Moscow for discussions about nuclear safety in Ukraine.
Europe Ukraine

The director of the UN Atomic Watchdog is traveling to Moscow for discussions about nuclear safety in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the director of the United Nations’ nuclear safety organization is scheduled to travel to Moscow for discussions with government representatives from Russia about the topic of ensuring nuclear safety in Ukraine.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi announced on Monday, during the agency’s 35-nation board of governors’ regular meeting in Vienna. There has been no immediate confirmation of the visit from the Kremlin.

Grossi informed journalists that the state of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, situated in the southeastern region of Ukraine, remains extremely delicate.

He emphasized the significant role the nuclear plant, the biggest in Europe, plays in maintaining global peace and security.

Grossi mentioned that he plans to personally meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his upcoming trip, but he also stated that he expects Moscow, as the host of the talks, to officially confirm the meeting.

Putin and Grossi last had a meeting in October 2022.

In February, Grossi made a trip to Ukraine and went to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in an attempt to prevent a nuclear catastrophe amidst the ongoing conflict. He also had a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, crossing the front line to do so.

FILE - A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

On May 1, 2022, in the area of southeastern Ukraine under Russian military control, a Russian serviceman was stationed to guard the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station.

He emphasized the importance of actively communicating with both parties during his interview with journalists in Vienna.

Grossi announced that he anticipated addressing “technical matters” regarding the future functionality of the facility in Moscow. He also noted that if the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is presently in a state of cold shutdown, is to be reactivated, plans for a safety assessment would need to be discussed. Additionally, he expressed the need to deliberate on the state of the external power supply lines, as the IAEA perceives them as “delicate and insufficient.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has consistently shown concern about the Zaporizhzhia power plant due to concerns of a potential nuclear disaster. The facility has been subjected to conflict multiple times since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, and was captured by Russia soon after.

The six reactors at the plant have been inoperative for several months, yet the facility still requires electricity and skilled personnel to control essential cooling mechanisms and safety measures.

The power plant has experienced eight instances of off-site power failure during the war, which has resulted in temporary reliance on emergency diesel generators. Additionally, the plant continues to deal with difficulties in regards to staffing.