The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has warned that Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear plant is in a “precarious state”. The plant, which provides power to southeastern Ukraine, has been dependent on a single external power line for three weeks after an emergency line was damaged. Any damage to the current line could cause the plant to lose power altogether, making it vulnerable to a nuclear accident. The precarious situation has been worsened by a Russian attack on the power plant on 9th March, which cut off the plant’s power for 11 hours.
Grossi has called on all parties to commit to ensuring nuclear safety and the protection of the plant. He added that Russia’s actions have caused a serious violation of nuclear safety and have put the entire European continent at risk. The high representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell, agreed, stating that “Zaporizhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and Russia is endangering the security of the entire European continent”.
The Fukushima plant disaster in Japan in 2011 was caused by overheating of the reactor fuel and a similar scenario could occur at the Zaporizhia plant. Therefore, action needs to be taken soon before a nuclear accident causes widespread damage.