IAEA mission expected to visit Zaporizhzhia in the ‘next few days’

Aug 29, 2022, 6:11 AM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 11:14 am
A view shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar ...
A view shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine on August 22. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)
(Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

(CNN) — International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are expected to go to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia power plant later this week amid renewed shelling at the facility and mounting fears over a potential nuclear accident.

On Monday, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi confirmed he is leading a team from the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog that will visit the facility in the coming days.

“The day has come, @IAEAorg’s Support and Assistance Mission to #Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) is now on its way. We must protect the safety and security of #Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest nuclear facility. Proud to lead this mission which will be in #ZNPP later this week,” Grossi tweeted Monday.

A Russian diplomat on Monday welcomed IAEA’s forthcoming trip, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti, saying the mission consisted “of about a dozen employees of the agency’s secretariat dealing with safeguards and nuclear safety issues” as well as a large team of UN staff dealing with logistics and security.

“Russia has made a significant contribution to the preparation of this mission. We hope that the visit of the plant by the IAEA mission will dispel numerous speculations about the unfavorable state of affairs at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna said, according to RIA.

The New York Times had previously reported that Grossi was a member of the team participating in the expert mission. The Times says it saw Grossi on a list of names, which also included “13 other experts from mostly neutral countries.”

“Neither the United States nor Britain, countries that Russia scorns as unfairly biased because of their strong support for Ukraine, is represented,” the Times reported.

When CNN reached out to the IAEA on Sunday about the makeup of the expert mission, the nuclear watchdog declined to comment, saying it would not make such information public and that “all IAEA missions have members from different Member States, selected on the basis of their relevant expertise. They are international civil servants representing the IAEA, not their countries.”

The IAEA’s announcement comes as both Russia’s Defense Ministry and Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said Saturday that the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shelled repeatedly over the past 24 hours, blaming each other for the shelling. Energoatom said Friday that the plant had been reconnected to Ukraine’s electricity grid a day after the plant went offline for the first time in its history.

Zaporizhzhia city authorities have also made iodine pills available to residents as concern grows over a possible nuclear accident. Earlier Sunday, Energoatom said on Telegram that according to Monday’s wind forecast, if a severe nuclear accident were to happen, the radiation cloud “will cover part of the south of Ukraine and the southwestern regions of Russia.”

In a tweet on Sunday Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Russian forces to leave the facility.

“For decades, nuclear safety has remained Ukraine’s top priority, especially given our tragic past. Russian invaders turned Zaporizhzhya NPP into a military base putting the entire continent at risk. Russian military must get out of the plant — they have nothing to do there,” he wrote.

Also on Sunday, the Russian Ministry of Defense blamed Ukraine again for continuing “provocations in order to create a threat of a man-made nuclear disaster” at the Zaporizhzhia power plant. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Sunday called Ukraine’s actions around the plant “nuclear terrorism.” She added that Russia believes the IAEA inspection of the power plant will take place and that Russia was not “persuaded” into allowing the inspection.

Russian attacks have been ongoing in the wider Zaporizhzhia region. On Sunday, Oleksandr Starukh, Head of Zaporizhzhia Region Civil Military administration, said Russian shelling in Zaporizhzhia’s Tavriyske village destroyed 15 houses. Starukh also said that a day before police received reports of shelling on a four-story residential building in the village of Kamianka in Zaporizhzhia oblast’s Pology district — leading to the death of four civilians, including two minors.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said Sunday that it hit the Motor Sich plant in Zaporizhzhia where Ukrainian military helicopters are repaired. Ukrainian officials have not commented on this claim and Ukraine does not comment on military losses. CNN cannot independently verify this claim.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Russia invades Ukraine

FILE: Ukrainian tank crew trains with infantry near Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine. (Photo by John ...
Jon Gambrell, Associated Press

Ukrainian troops claim gains in Russia-annexed region

Ukrainian troops pushed forward with their offensive that has embarrassed Moscow, with Kyiv officials and foreign observers hinting at new gains in the southern strategic region of Kherson.
1 day ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a reception to celebrate the Jewish New Year with ...

Biden vows Russia won’t ‘get away with’ Ukraine annexation

The United States and its allies are hitting back at Russia’s annexation of four more Ukrainian regions, slapping sanctions on more than 1,000 Russian individuals and companies.
4 days ago
President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during the 77th session of the United Nations General Ass...
Fatima Hussein, Associated Press

US hits Russia with sanctions for annexing Ukrainian regions

The U.S. has sanctioned more than 1,000 people and firms connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including its Central Bank governor and families of Security Council members.
4 days ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen here signing the annexation documents in Moscow on Sept. 3...
Jon Gambrell and Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Putin declares Ukrainian regions part of Russia, defies West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened a Kremlin ceremony to start the process of absorbing parts of Ukraine in defiance of international law.
4 days ago
Ukrainian troops ride upon a repaired Russian tank in a wooded area outside the city on September 2...
LOLITA C. BALDOR and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

US announces $1.1 billion more in military aid for Ukraine

The U.S. will provide an additional $1.1 billion in aid to Ukraine, with funding for about 18 more advanced rocket systems and other weapons to counter drones that Russia has been using against Ukrainian troops.
5 days ago
A large disturbance in the sea can be observed off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm Tuesd...
JAN M. OLSEN, Associated Press

NATO believes Baltic Sea gas leaks were sabotage

NATO says it will retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure of its 30 member countries as it suggested that damage to two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea is the result of sabotage.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
IAEA mission expected to visit Zaporizhzhia in the ‘next few days’