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Russia is ready to continue talks to establish safety zone around ZNPP — Rosatom head

The Rosatom chief recalled that Russia from the very beginning supported the efforts of the IAEA and its director general to send a mission to the ZNPP

VIENNA, September 26. /TASS/. Russia is ready to continue talks to establish a safety zone around the Zaporozhye NPP and expects a non-politicized approach from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Alexey Likhachev, director general at Rosatom, has said.

"We are ready for cooperation on the technical aspects of the protection zone and physical nuclear safety of the Zaporozhye NPP. We are ready to agree on its establishment as quickly as possible," he said at the 66th Session of the IAEA’s General Conference.

He said during his speech that, "despite an unprecedented level of politicization in the activities of a number of international organizations," as well as "attempts by a number of member states to turn the agency into a platform for promoting political positions," the IAEA remains within its professional mandate. "It’s important that the IAEA maintains this professional and non-politicized approach," he said.

The Rosatom chief recalled that Russia from the very beginning supported the efforts of the IAEA and its director general to send a mission to the ZNPP. For example, everything possible was done to ensure that the experts’ visit took place in June, "but then the trip was disrupted through no fault of our own," and active assistance was also provided to the dispatch of the mission in late August - early September.

"I recognize the personal courage of the mission members and the head of the agency, Rafael Grossi," he said.

"We welcome the presence of two employees of the agency on an ongoing basis. This decision helps to dispel numerous speculations about the situation at the ZNPP. We are in working contact with our colleagues, and we are ensuring their safety, as well as proper working and living conditions. Naturally, we are not interfering in their substantive work," Likhachev said.

Situation at the ZNPP

On September 21, Grossi said he had held a number of meetings on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, including with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, as well as with French President Emmanuel Macron, where he discussed the establishment of a security zone around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Grossi also held meetings with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal and top EU diplomat Josep Borrell. In addition, the head of the IAEA said that the agency intends to expand the mission at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in the coming days. According to Grossi, the mission at the ZNPP is working well, despite the difficult circumstances.

The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, located in the city of Energodar, is controlled by Russian troops. A delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency led by the group’s Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi travelled to the plant in September. It left two observers at the facility, then published a report calling for an establishment of a safety zone around the plant to prevent accidents that could arise due to the hostilities.