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IAEA calls on Russia to return Zaporizhzhia NPP to Ukrainian control

The resolution says Russia should “immediately cease all actions” at the plant, withdraw its military, and enable Ukraine’s nuclear operator to resume full control
Russian troops stand near the Zaporizhzhia NPP
Russian soldier stands near the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Illustrative photo: Energoatom
IAEA calls on Russia to return Zaporizhzhia NPP to Ukrainian control

The UN nuclear watchdog voted Thursday to call for Russia to relinquish control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, now occupied by Russian forces since soon after their invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency approved a resolution, spearheaded by Canada, Finland, and Costa Rica, that supports the return of the Zaporizhzhia plant to full Ukrainian control. 69 nations voted for the measure at the 67th session of the IAEA’s General Conference.

“We are grateful to our partners, to every country for voting for adherence to guarantees of nuclear and radiation safety,” Ukraine’s energy minister Herman Haluschenko said after the vote.

The resolution says Russia should “immediately cease all actions” at the plant and withdraw military and other unauthorized personnel. It also calls on Moscow to enable Ukraine’s state nuclear operator to resume full control of the plant.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the resolution as “a decisive step” in protecting the plant located in the city of Enerhodar from “Russian nuclear terror.”

The IAEA, which has had monitors at the site for months, has warned of the risk of a potentially catastrophic accident because of nearby fighting.

The plant was temporarily knocked offline last week, fueling fears of disaster. Ukraine alleges Russia is essentially holding the plant hostage, storing weapons there, and launching attacks from around it, while Moscow accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the facility.

Russia’s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia NPP: Background

  • Russia occupied the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, in the first month of its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces have reportedly mined the cooling system of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and prepared explosives near the plant’s nuclear reactors, raising concerns about a potential attack.
  • There have been allegations that Russia launched an algorithm to trigger a nuclear disaster at the plant.
  • Ukraine made a secret and unsuccessful attempt to retake the Zaporizhzhia NPP.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sought expanded access to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Related: 

– The UN nuclear watchdog voted overwhelmingly Thursday for Russia to relinquish control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
– The International Atomic Energy Agency approved a resolution calling for Russia to immediately withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant it seized early in the Ukraine war.
– The UN nuclear agency on Thursday demanded Russia give up control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, captured by Russian forces in March.
– Europe’s largest nuclear power plant should be returned to full Ukrainian control, the UN nuclear watchdog decided Thursday.
– The International Atomic Energy Agency voted Thursday to support Ukraine regaining control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine now occupied by Russia.

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