The United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency urged Russia and Ukraine to set up a "security protection zone” near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as fears have escalated that nearby fighting could trigger a disaster not seen since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.
After a recent visit to the plant, Grossi said that he could see visible signs of damage. However, he wasn't sure which side was responsible or if both were to blame.
“I cannot make that determination. We don't have the means to do that,” he told CNN, adding that assigning blame is beyond the capabilities and mandate of the IAEA. “But the mere fact that ... people are hitting a nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe" poses a significant danger regardless, he said.
While Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sept. 6 offered some support for the proposal to create a demilitarized zone around the plant, he said he wanted more details.
Officials in Ukraine are looking at the option of shutting down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for safety reasons and are worried about the reserves of diesel fuel used for backup generators.
"The option of switching off the station is being assessed, if conditions necessitating the station to be switched off arise," Oleh Korikov, the acting head of Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate, told a news briefing by video link. He said that while the facility is supplying its own electricity needs, backup diesel generators would be needed if it remains disconnected; he gave no time frame for that eventuality.