Two inspectors from international nuclear agency to remain at Ukrainian nuclear plant

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will keep two inspectors at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announced on Friday.

“We are establishing a permanent presence on site, this time with two of our experts, which will be continuing the work,” Grossi said at a press conference.

A team of IAEA inspectors visited the nuclear plant earlier this week amid ongoing concerns of a potential nuclear accident.

Russian forces captured the Zaporizhzhya plant early on in their invasion of Ukraine, but the plant is still operated by Ukrainian technicians. Located in southeastern Ukraine on the front line of the war, the nuclear power plant has faced numerous shellings, which Russia and Ukraine have blamed on one another.

The plant lost connection to its last remaining main external power line on Friday evening and was utilizing a reserve line, according to an IAEA press release. This same power line was also temporarily disconnected on Aug. 25. The plant’s three other such power lines were lost earlier in the conflict.

One of the Zaporizhzhya plant’s two operating reactors was also disconnected, the IAEA said. The other unit is still “operating and producing electricity both for cooling and other essential safety functions at the site and for households, factories and others through the grid.”

“The difference between having the IAEA at the site and not having us there is like day and night,” Grossi said in the press release. “I remain gravely concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant – this hasn’t changed – but the continued presence of the IAEA will be of paramount importance in helping to stabilise the situation.”

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