War in Ukraine LIVE: Worried, the IAEA calls for “preventing a serious nuclear accident” in Zaporozhye…

8:50 a.m.: IAEA calls for “preventing a serious nuclear accident” in Zaporozhye

The International Atomic Energy Agency warned on Saturday of the risk of a “serious nuclear accident” at the Zaporozhye power plant, occupied by Russian forces in Ukraine, due to the evacuation of a neighboring town where live most employees and the “increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous” situation around the site.

“This large nuclear facility must be protected. I will continue to press for all parties to commit to this vital goal, and the IAEA will continue to do everything in its power to help ensure the nuclear safety and security of the plant,” said Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the IAEA. The Agency’s experts, who are in the area, are closely monitoring the situation to “detect any potential impact on nuclear safety and security”.

This concern is shared by Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, who estimated on Telegram that the “evacuation” announced by the Russian authorities was being done too quickly. Huge queues have thus formed at the Chongar checkpoint, on the road leading from Melitopol to Crimea.

An evacuation of the employees of the nuclear power plant, whose six reactors are shut down, is not currently planned, for his part announced on Saturday Yuri Tchernichuk, director of the site and appointed by the Russian authorities.

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