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IAEA chief says that risks for ZNPP sometimes near ‘ten out of ten’

He added that the security situation in the area was volatile

UNITED NATIONS, January 26. /TASS/. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi believes that risks to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) may sometimes be close to ten on a ten-point scale.

When asked where would ZNPP stand on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the most dangerous and one being secure, Grossi replied: "There are days when you are near ten, and there are days when nothing seems to happen. And the problem is this: the complete uncertainty."

He added that the security situation in the area was volatile.

When asked to comment on the implications of a meltdown at ZNPP, Grossi said that given that core temperatures of may reach "hundreds of degrees," so "degradation of the reactor’s protective system" is possible without proper cooling.

"Then you have the dissemination of radioactive material in the atmosphere. This is what happened in Chernobyl. <…> This was the case in Fukushima, where after the earthquake <…> there was a tsunami and emergency diesel generators disappeared," he said.

That is why the IAEA constantly emphasizes the importance of uninterrupted power supply to the nuclear power plant, he added. In the official’s words, the ZNPP has two external power supply lines at this point, and has to rely on diesel generators when these lines are cut off.

"We are walking on very-very thin ice," he said.

Located in Energodar, the Zaporozhye nuclear facility, with roughly 6GW of capacity, is the largest of its kind in Europe. Russia took control of the plant on February 28, 2022, in the first days of its special military operation in Ukraine. Since then, units of the Ukrainian army have periodically shelled both residential districts in nearby Energodar as well as the premises of the nuclear plant itself, by means of drones, heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems.

Over the past two years, the ZNPP was disconnected from external power sources eight times.