After another blackout at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has appealed for a protection zone, saying he was “astonished by the complacency” of the organisation he leads, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Russian forces pounded several Ukrainian cities while people slept on Thursday, killing at least six civilians, knocking out electricity, and forcing Europe’s largest nuclear plant off the grid for a sixth time since Moscow’s invasion began last year.
The last time all power was lost at the site was on November 23, 2022, Rafael Grossi told the IAEA board of directors in a meeting on Thursday.
“What are we doing to prevent this [from] happening? We are the IAEA, we are meant to care about nuclear safety,” he said.
“Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.”
Grossi has long tried to get both sides to strike a deal, pledging they would not fire at or from the plant and heavy weapons would be removed.
In his statement to the IAEA board, Grossi stressed: “This is the sixth time – let me say it again sixth time – that ZNPP has lost all off-site power and has had to operate in this emergency mode. Let me remind you – this is the largest nuclear power station in Europe. What are we doing? How can we sit here in this room this morning and allow this to happen? This cannot go on.”