11/20/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2022 05:41
Powerful explosions shook the area of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) yesterday evening and again this morning, abruptly ending a period of relative calm at the facility and further underlining the urgent need for measures to help prevent a nuclear accident there, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.
In what appeared to be renewed shelling both close to and at the site of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, IAEA experts at the ZNPP reported to Agency headquarters that more than a dozen blasts were heard within a short period of time in the morning local time. The IAEA team could also see some of the explosions from their windows.
Citing information provided by plant management, the IAEA team said there had been damage to some buildings, systems and equipment at the ZNPP site, but none of them so far critical for nuclear safety and security. There were no reports of casualties. The IAEA experts are in close contact with site management and will continue to assess and report on the situation.
"The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you're playing with fire!" Director General Grossi said.
The Director General renewed his urgent appeal to both sides in the conflict to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the ZNPP as soon as possible. In recent months, he has engaged in intense consultations with Ukraine and Russia about establishing such a zone, but so far without an agreement.
"I'm not giving up until this zone has become a reality. As the ongoing apparent shelling demonstrates, it is needed more than ever," he said.