BERLIN: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday that the long-awaited mission of experts from the UN nuclear watchdog to Zaporizhia power plant in Ukraine “is now on its way”.
Director General of the IAEA Raphael Grossi has sought for months to gain access to the factory in Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Europe, which has been occupied by Russian forces and run by Ukrainian workers since the early days of the 6-month war.
The urgency has grown in recent days as Russia and Ukraine traded allegations of strikes at or near the plant, heightening fears the fighting could cause a massive radioactive leak. Last week, the facility was temporarily taken offline.
“The day has come,” Magnified wrote on Twitter, adding that the “IAEA support and assistance mission based in Vienna is now on its way”.

“We must protect the safety and security of the largest nuclear facility in #Ukraine and Europe,” he wrote. “Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week.” Grossi, who did not provide a more specific timeline or give more details, posted a photo of himself with 13 other experts.
Ukraine has alleged that Russia is essentially holding the plant hostage, storing weapons there and launching attacks from its surroundings, while Moscow accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the facility. The Zaporizhzhia power plant has six reactors.
The IAEA tweeted that the mission will assess physical damage to the facility, “determine functionality of safety and security systems” and assess personnel conditions, among other things.

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