Tue. Mar 21st, 2023
The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has agreed to allow a team of international inspectors to visit the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant of Zaporizhzhia. This announcement was made by Russia soon after a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French president Emmanuel Macron.

According to the French president’s office, Putin had “reconsidered the demand” that the nuclear watchdog body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), travel through Russia to the site after the Russian leader himself warned that fighting could bring about a “catastrophe”.

It specified that Putin dropped his demand that the IAEA team travel to the site via Russia, saying it could arrive via Ukraine.

The plant has been under Russian occupation since the early months of the invasion, although it is being operated by Ukrainian technicians under Moscow’s direction. In recent months, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been a matter of deep concern.

Electrical supply is a growing source of concern

As reported by Reuters, the state nuclear company of Ukraine, Energoatom, said on Friday that Russian forces planned to switch off the functioning power blocks at the Ukrainian nuclear plant and disconnect them from the Ukrainian power grid.

“The Russian military is looking for suppliers of fuel for diesel generators, which must be turned on after the shutdown of power units and in the absence of external power supply for nuclear-fuel cooling systems,” Energoatom said.

Western experts have highlighted the brewing concerns over water cooling at nuclear power plants. The lack of cooling of the nuclear reactors exacerbates the risk of accidents. For instance, the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonia Guterres, has asked Moscow’s forces occupying the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia not to disconnect Ukraine’s electrical grid on Friday.

Moreover, Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the IAEA, hailed the announcement by the Russian leader. “In this highly volatile and fragile situation, it is of vital importance that no new action is taken that could further endanger the safety and security of one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” he said. (BBC)

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