(Reuters) – U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi will visit the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine next week to assess the serious situation there, he announced on Saturday.
Grossi is pressing for a security zone to be erected around what is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, with six reactors, which has come under repeated shelling over the past months.
It will be his second visit. Last September he went there and established a permanent presence of IAEA experts.
Russian troops occupied the facility early in their invasion of Ukraine and it remains near the front line. Both sides blame each other for the shelling.
“The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is still precarious,” Grossi said in the statement, saying he wanted “to assess first-hand the serious nuclear safety and security situation at the facility”.
Earlier this month he appealed for the protection zone around the plant to be set up, saying he was “astonished by the complacency” around the issue.
The plant accounted for around 20% of Ukraine’s national power generation before the invasion, but has not produced any electricity since September when the last of its six reactors was taken offline.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Diane Craft and Daniel Wallis)