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Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant ‘out of control’, UN warns

The situation at Ukraine’s largest nuclear plant is “completely out of control” and becoming more dangerous every day, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned.

Raphael Grossi said the “effective” communication from the Zaporizhia facility and his organization’s inability to visit the site was deeply troubling.

“What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous,” he said.

The IAEA is unsure whether the plant, which is now in Russian-controlled territory but run by Ukrainian personnel, is getting all the parts it needs to function properly, as its supply of equipment has been affected by the war.

“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” Mr. Grossi said of the site, adding that his organization urgently needs to check that Zaporizhia’s nuclear material is protected.

He called on both Ukraine and Russia to allow experts to arrive at the plant to assess the situation as soon as possible.

The power plant was experiencing a “list of things that should never happen at any nuclear facility,” the IAEA director general said.

“And that’s why I’ve been insisting from day one that we should be able to go there to do that safety and security assessment, do the repairs and help like we already did at Chernobyl,” he said.

Mr. Grossi said the agency’s presence “will be a deterrent to any act of violence against this nuclear plant.

“So I’m asking as an international civil servant, as the head of an international organization, I’m asking both sides to let this mission go ahead.”

Fears of a nuclear disaster similar to the 1986 Chernobyl accident were raised when Russia seized the plant shortly after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The Russians reportedly damaged an administrative building while occupying the facility. The reactors were not affected by the attack.

Mr Grossi visited Chernobyl on April 27 and tweeted that the security level was “like a flashing ‘red light'”.

But he said the IAEA set up “an assistance mission” in Chernobyl at the time “which has been very, very successful so far.”

He is now pleading for a similar visit to Zaporizhia “to avoid a nuclear accident”, Mr Grossi said.

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