Negotiations with Kyiv and Moscow on creating a safe zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continue – but in the meantime, the director of the UN nuclear watchdog warns of the potential consequences.
“We cannot continue to rely on luck to avoid a nuclear accident,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi told CNN on Wednesday.
Grossi said negotiations are “moving forward” but “this is an active battlefield, so getting to agreed parameters for this is not such an easy thing to do.”
The IAEA director said he met a Russian delegation to Turkey on Wednesday and spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday.
“I’m in consultation with both. I wouldn’t agree with the assessment that we’re not making any progress, I think we are,” Grossi said. “Of course we are talking about something that is very difficult. This is war. This is real war and the protection zone that I propose is precisely on the front line, on the line where the two adversaries are in touch.”
“But we are moving forward I believe, and I hope that episodes as traumatic as those of this weekend can paradoxically help us to move forward, in the sense that people must realize that we cannot continue to rely on the chance to avoid a nuclear accident,” he said.
Asked who was “playing with fire”, referring to Grossi’s own remarks on Sunday following the powerful explosions that rocked the nuclear plant on Saturday and Sunday, Grossi said “it is very difficult for us to ‘identify from inside the plant who is doing this’. adding “by the way, our main goal is to stop this, not get into an attribution game.”
Later on Wednesday, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “lost access to external electricity again” and instead relied on its emergency diesel generators for the energy it needed for reactor cooling. and other essential functions, the IAEA said in a statement.