IAEA observers report more than a dozen explosions in the area of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the morning of November 20 and shelling of the plant the previous evening. The IAEA does not specify who carried out the attacks, and Russia has already managed to blame Ukraine. In the meantime, the Ukrainian Energoatom announced 12 hits on the ZNPP by the Russian occupiers.
The general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the shelling of the ZNPP on Saturday and Sunday (IAEA) Rafael Grossi, according to a message on the agency’s website.
“The IAEA experts staying at the ZANP reported to the headquarters of the agency that shelling has resumed near and on the territory of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. In the morning local time, more than a dozen explosions were heard within a short period of time. The IAEA team could also see some explosions from their windows,” the report said.
It is emphasized that some buildings, systems and equipment were damaged at the ZNPP site, but this is not of critical importance for nuclear safety and security.
There are no reports of casualties.
It is clarified that IAEA experts “are in close contact with station management and will continue to assess and report on the situation.”
The agency does not specify who fired at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, but they emphasize that it must stop immediately.
“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred on the site of this large nuclear power plant, which is absolutely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this must be stopped immediately,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.
The agency adds that “Grossi once again appealed to both sides of the conflict with an urgent call to agree as soon as possible and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the ZNPP.”
In recent months, Grossi has conducted intensive consultations with Ukraine and Russia regarding the creation of such a zone, but so far without results.
“I will not give up until this zone becomes a reality. As the obvious ongoing shelling shows, this is needed more than ever,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Rosatom is dispersing information about the alleged artillery shelling of the Zaporizhzhia NPP from the side of Ukraine. They say there are 12 missiles, two of which apparently fell into a nuclear waste repository.
The Ukrainian Energoatom claims that the Russian military shelled the ZNPP all Sunday morning.
“This morning, November 20, 2022, as a result of numerous Russian shellings, at least 12 “arrivals” were recorded at the site of the Zaporizhzhya NPP,” Energoatom said in a statement.
It is reported that as a result, overpasses of communication with special corps, storage tanks of chemically desalinated water, steam generator purge system, auxiliary systems of one of the two general station diesel engines and other equipment of the station were damaged. Three hits were also recorded in the area of the Rayduga substation. Information about damage and destruction there is still being ascertained.
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The nature and list of damaged equipment of the ZNPP shows that the Russians targeted and disabled the very infrastructure that was necessary for the launch of power units 5 and 6 and the restoration of electricity production at the Zaporizhzhia NPP for the needs of Ukraine, Energoatom notes.
They remind that they recently made a decision and received permission to bring power units 5 and 6 to a minimally controlled power level to obtain steam, which is critically needed in the winter period of the year for the safety of power units, personnel, the population and the environment.
“The Rashists tried in every possible way to prevent the Ukrainian staff of the station from starting the power units. The fake director of the plant from Rosatom Romanenko, with the help of the Russian military, which seized the ZNPP and uses it as its own military base, blocked the preparation of power units to bring them to the minimum power level. However, this was not enough for them, and today the rioters fired at and damaged the very equipment, the failure of which makes any further actions regarding the start-up of power units of the ZNPP impossible,” Energoatom emphasizes.
“The Russians are once again arranging nuclear blackmail and are putting the whole world at risk with their actions,” the department added.
Energoatom appealed to the international community to urgently take measures for the fastest possible demilitarization of the ZNPP, the withdrawal of all Russian military personnel from the territory of the plant and the city of Energodar, and the return of the Zaporizhia NPP to the full control of Ukraine.