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Why did the UN nuclear chief say a Ukrainian nuclear plant is ‘out of control’?

A Russian-controlled nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is at the centre of the fighting between the two European nations.

Update:
A Russian-controlled nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is at the centre of the fighting between the two European nations.
JOE KLAMARAFP

Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been pleading with the Ukrainian and Russian governments to be allowed access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant over fears of its treatment during the Russian invasion.

Rafael Grossi, the head of the IAEA, was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying the Zaporizhzhia plant required an inspection and repairs.

“You have a catalogue of things that should never be happening in any nuclear facility,” he said, “The situation is very fragile. Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated one way or the other and we cannot allow that to continue.”

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Grossi said to AP that it was near impossible to move equipment and supplies to the facility. Ukraine says it will not approve access as they believe it woudl legitimise Russian control of the area. The United Nations would also need to approve access to the plant, of which Russia would have a veto on any plans due to its spot on the security council. Grossi said that concerns of the potential outcome trump the bureacracy.

“While this war rages on, inaction is unconscionable,” he said. “If an accident occurs at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, we will not have a natural disaster to blame - we will have only ourselves to answer to. We need everyone’s support.”

What is the status of the plant?

It is not the first time during the war that concerns have been raised about the station. Back in March there were fears of damage to the nuclear power plant. Dmytro Orlov, mayor of nearby Enerhodar, wrote on Facebook: “A threat to world security!!! As a result of relentless shelling by the enemy of the buildings and blocks of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire!!!”

The station is under Russian-control, though it is still manned by a Ukrainian team.

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