31 Aug 2022 12:05

IAEA mission on way to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant - Ukrainian energy minister

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) - A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has departed for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Wednesday.

The mission will begin important work today the likes of which the agency has never seen, he said on social media.

"We discussed with and gave the mission a list of technical and safety indicators that it is important for the international experts to check during their visit to the plant," Halushchenko said.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on August 30 as part of the agency mission's visit to Ukraine, CNN reported.

The itinerary of the mission's visit to the nuclear plant in Enerhodar, in the part of Zaporizhzhia region controlled by Russia, is supposed to take one day, the head of the temporary administration of the region, Yevgeny Balitsky said earlier.

"They are supposed to look at the plant's operation in one day. The elements that they say in the process can be inspected. At this point [the stated goal of the mission] is to 'familiarize itself with the work of the plant.' For us this is a vague concept for us," Balitsky said.

He said the plan is for the delegation to enter the territory controlled by Russia through Vasilyevka near the contact line and immediately go to Enerhodar, and it is supposed to leave by the evening of the same day, before dark.

Balitsky said the experts will probably inspect the two operating reactors, the waste storage facility and cooling system. There are also plans to show them the results of shelling by Ukrainian forces, he said.

The regional authorities would also like to show the mission the shelled residential areas of Enerhodar, but they doubt there will be an objective assessment.

"We will show everything that needs to be shown. We will do everything that depends on us. And we will try so that the world finds out the truth of who is the nuclear terrorist through this agency. But we don't have big hopes," Balitsky said.

The Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, has six VVER-1000 reactors. The first generating unit went into operation in December 1984 and the sixth in October 1995.

Russia's Defense Ministry and the Enerhodar authorities have repeatedly said that the plant and infrastructure used by workers has come under fire. The attacks increased in frequency in August and have continued in recent days. They have not disrupted the operation of the reactors, but they have damaged auxiliary support systems, including cooling system pools, and hit near the storage facility for radioactive isotopes.