TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The head of the U.N.’s atomic energy watchdog met with Russian officials in Kaliningrad on Wednesday for negotiations on the safety of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently held by Russian forces.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi’s trip to the Russian exclave came a week after he visited the plant, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
“I met high level officials from several Russian agencies in Kaliningrad,” Grossi said on Twitter. “I continue my efforts to protect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant,” he said, emphasizing that this was “in everyone’s interest.”
The head of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, was among the officials Grossi met, according to a statement by Russia’s state nuclear corporation. Likhachev informed Grossi of “the steps that are being taken by the Russian side to ensure the safe operation of the ZNPP,” while expressing that the Russian side is “ready” to work on implementing initiatives put forward by Grossi.
The Kremlin’s forces took over the plant after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opposes any proposal that would legitimize Russia’s control.
On his visit to the plant last week, Grossi said he was “trying to prepare and propose realistic measures that will be approved by all parties.” The increasing combat makes it urgent to find a way to prevent a potentially catastrophic nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, he stressed.
Interruptions to the outside electricity supply due to the fighting required plant personnel to switch to emergency diesel generators six times during the 13-month war.
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