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IAEA chief warns of safety level at Ukrainian nuclear plant held by Russian forces

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at a press conference about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi speaks at a press conference about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

KYIV, Ukraine — The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-general says the level of safety at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, currently under Russian occupation in Ukraine, is like a “red light blinking” as his organization tries in vain to get access for work including repairs.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rafael Grossi says that the IAEA needs access to the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine so its inspectors can, among other things, re-establish connections with the Vienna-based headquarters of the UN agency. And for that, both Russia and Ukraine need to help.

The plant requires repairs, “and all of this is not happening. So the situation as I have described it, and I would repeat it today, is not sustainable as it is,” Grossi says. “So this is a pending issue. This is a red light blinking.”

He speaks in an interview Wednesday, a day after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the issue.

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