U.S., Ukraine Urge Russia To Return Full Control Of Zaporizhzhya Nuke Plant To Ukraine

U.S., Ukraine Urge Russia To Return Full Control Of Zaporizhzhya Nuke Plant To Ukraine

September 2, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky have called on Russia to return full control of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to Ukraine.

The two leaders also urged Russia to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to the nuclear facility at risk.

The plant, which is occupied by Russian forces, was disconnected for the first time in its history on Thursday.

The Ukrainian President said a radiation disaster was narrowly avoided by immediately activating backup diesel generators.

The power plant was later reconnected to the national electricity grid.

“Today, August 26, 2022, at 2:04 p.m., one of the power units of the ZNPP that was stopped yesterday was connected to the power grid, and capacity is being added,” nuclear operator Energoatom said in a statement Friday.

The statement added, “Nuclear workers of Zaporizhzhia NPP are real heroes! They tirelessly and firmly hold the nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine and the whole of Europe on their shoulders and work selflessly so that their native country has life-giving electricity.”

Western leaders last week had called on the UN nuclear watchdog to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where continued Russian shelling has sparked fears of a disaster.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency reiterated the need to send an IAEA mission to carry out essential safety, security and safeguards activities at the nuclear site in southern Ukraine.

The IAEA chief warned that any further escalation related to the six-reactor plant could lead to a severe nuclear accident with potentially grave consequences for human health and the environment in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Rafael Mariano Grossi renewed his urgent appeal for maximum military restraint in the area of the Nuclear Power Plant following new signs of rising tension over Europe’s largest such facility.

The IAEA has not been able to visit Zaporizhzhia since the conflict began six months ago. Since early March, it has been controlled by Russian forces, but the Ukrainian staff is continuing to operate the plant.

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