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Outrage over nuclear safety violations — Rafael Grossi, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said on Tuesday that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” — has done nothing to dislodge the Russian army from the site, and fighting has continued daily, with explosions in the early afternoon on Friday. Mr. Grossi called conditions at the plant “out of control.”
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Mr. Grossi said he was far more worried about Zaporizhzhia than he was about Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, also in Ukraine, that radiated the surrounding area and imperiled Europe.
“Chernobyl, I think we are fine,’‘ said Mr. Grossi, noting that his agency had inspected the plant regularly and had restored sensors for radiation monitoring and other detection devices.
But the I.A.E.A. has been unable to access key parts of the reactors at Zaporizhzhia, as the occupying Russian force and surrounding shelling make it too dangerous for inspectors. That raises the prospect that if damage is done to the facility, it may be difficult, at best, to assess the danger, he added.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Ukrainian state nuclear company, Enerhoatam, said Russian soldiers have occupied basements at the plant and are preventing employees from sheltering in them, despite the risks from combat in the area. “People do not have shelter and are in danger,” the statement said.
Blocking access to the shelters comes atop other psychological stresses for Ukrainian workers on the reactor control room and other plant employees, who have been subjected to harsh interrogations including torture with electrical shocks, according to Ukrainian officials. The tension poses risks of accidents by human error, the officials have said.
Fighting Around Ukrainian Nuclear Plant Heightens Safety Fears – iNow
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