© Reuters. Smoke rises following recent Russian shelling in Bakhmut, a war-affected area in eastern Ukraine, as Russia’s attack in Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, September 5, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
By Pavel Polityuk and Francois Murphy
KYIV/VIENNA (Reuters) -The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Tuesday for a security and safety zone around Europe’s biggest nuclear power station, describing extensive damage inspectors had found at the plant on the front line in the Ukraine war.
A long-awaited report did not ascribe blame for damage at the Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant, which Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling. The plant is controlled by Russian forces but operated by Ukrainian technicians.
Inspectors said they had found Russian troops and equipment at the plant, including military vehicles parked in turbine halls. They also said conditions for Ukrainian staff operating the plant should be improved to reduce the likelihood of errors.
“Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available,” the IAEA report said. “This is not sustainable and could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.”
IAEA inspectors led by the agency’s chief, Rafael Grossi, braved shelling to cross the front line and reach the plant on Friday. Two experts have stayed on to maintain a long-term presence at the site.
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