IAEA chief Grossi arrives in Ukraine to meet with Zelenskyy and visit ZNPP
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday, 13 June. He is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after which he will visit the Zaporizhzhya NPP seized by Russia.
At ZNPP, the IAEA chief intends to assess the risks to the plant's safety after the Russian occupiers blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, whose water was used to cool the reactors. Reuters reports.
After a meeting with Zelensky in Kyiv, the newspaper writes, Grossi will go to the ZNPP occupied by Russian troops. The IAEA chief intends to assess the water level in the cooling pond used to cool the reactors after the 6 June terrorist attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station.
The newspaper emphasises that although Western countries are still gathering evidence to determine who was behind the dam bombing, there is little doubt in the West that Ukraine had no reason to cause such a huge disaster on its soil.
After the destruction of the Kakhovka reservoir, the Zaporizhzhya NPP, which used water from the reservoir to protect its reactors from catastrophic overheating, was also threatened. Currently, the reactors at ZNPP can only be cooled by means of a cooling pond. It is no longer possible to fill it from the Kakhovka reservoir after the catastrophic drop in water levels.
According to NNEGC Energoatom, as of 13 June, the water level in the pond is stable and quite high: as of Tuesday morning, it was 16.67 metres (54.69 feet), which, Energoatom assured, is "quite enough to meet the needs of the plant".
Speaking to journalists upon arrival in Kyiv, Grossi said there was no immediate danger, but the situation was "serious".
"This is a step in the wrong direction... This is another step towards weakening the security system that exists at any nuclear power plant," he said.
The IAEA chief expects that his visit to the largest nuclear power plant will allow for a more accurate assessment of the existing risks.
Currently, the water in the cooling pond is consumed slowly because the reactors do not produce energy and the water does not evaporate quickly during the cooling process.
In addition, Grossi told reporters that he was concerned that ZNPP could be damaged during Ukraine's counter-offensive to retake Ukrainian lands occupied by Russia.
He did not see any signs that Russia had moved military equipment to the station, but intends to clarify this during his visit.
"At the moment, we have no indication, but this cannot be ruled out," the IAEA chief said.
Earlier today, it was reported that IAEA Director General Grossi was travelling to Ukraine. He planned to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and present an aid programme to help eliminate the consequences of the occupiers' explosion of the Novokakhovka hydroelectric power station.