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Ukraine on Monday called on experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to not only inspect the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant but also to carry out a nuclear engineering audit.
A group of IAEA inspectors led by the nuclear watchdog’s chief Rafael Grossi arrived in Europe’s largest nuclear plant last week on a mission to inspect the war damage at the complex, which has faced several artillery barrages, with Kyiv and Moscow exchanging blame for the strikes.
“At the Zaporizhia NPP, next to which the invaders have deployed and fire MLR systems, a nuclear engineering audit is required even more than the peacekeeping efforts of an IAEA mission,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in a TV interview, as cited by Ukrinform.
Podolyak believes that there should be a “certain number of people who understand nuclear physics and engineering technologies. They can be there, I emphasize, next to our staffers.”
He pointed out that the Ukrainian government does not have clear reliable data on whether “everything is normal at the facility in terms of safety circuits, reactor cooling, and personnel.”
“We saw nothing of that in the report,” Podolyak stressed, referring to the report the IAEA wrote after arriving at the plant.
“Those Russian troops there have no clue about what is happening there so they can’t assess the risks correctly. But there are a certain number of our staffers who need some kind of protection,” he added.
Six of the 14 IAEA experts remained at the nuclear plant after their visit on Thursday. The number is set to be reduced to two in the coming days.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the world’s third largest, was seized by the Russian military on March 4, just a few days after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Since then, Moscow has been deploying military equipment and ammunition at its facilities, according to Kyiv.
The United Nations, the United States and Ukraine have repeatedly called on Russia to withdraw military equipment and personnel from the atomic facility.