UN watchdog finds damage to Ukrainian nuclear power plant

Investigators said they found the plant's special building housing "fresh nuclear fuel" and "solid radioactive waste" was damaged.

Published: September 6, 2022 11:15am

Updated: September 6, 2022 11:50am

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, said Tuesday it is "gravely concerned" after inspectors found the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine sustained damage due to fighting in the area.

Ukrainian staff have been operating Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, but it has been under Russian control since March.

Intense fighting broke out in the area in recent weeks, and the international agency's team witnessed shelling near the plant during its inspection.

Officials "observed damage at different locations caused by reported events with some of the damage being close to the reactor buildings," the U.N. report states.

Ukraine officials said Sunday that plant's last transmission line was taken offline because of damage from the shelling, for which Russia and Ukraine blame each other.

Russia invaded Ukraine in mid-February.

The agency's inspector general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, urged the countries to exercise restraint around the plant. He warned that "any military firepower directed at or from the facility would amount to playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences," according to the report.

Investigators said they found the inside one plant building "fresh nuclear fuel" and "solid radioactive waste" that was damaged.

Several agency staffers are staying at the plant in a reported effort to stabilize the situation.

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