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          Home | Europe

          Efforts made for UN team to visit nuke plant

          China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-27 09:56

          The logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seen at its headquarters in Vienna, on June 7, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

          IAEA mission preparations come as concerns for safety of facility mount

          MOSCOW-A mission from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant within days as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a major buildup of his country's military forces.

          Amid nuclear safety concerns, Lana Zerkal, an adviser to Ukraine's energy minister, told Ukrainian media on Thursday evening that logistical issues are being worked out for the IAEA team to go to the plant.

          The atomic agency's head, Rafael Mariano Grossi, also said on Thursday that he hopes to send a team to the power plant within days. Negotiations over how the team would access the site are complicated but advancing, he said on France-24 television.

          The agency has previously said the situation at the plant is "highly volatile" and "underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster".

          French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday against the use of civilian nuclear facilities as an instrument of the conflict in Ukraine.

          "War in any case must not undermine the nuclear safety of the country, the region and all of us. Civil nuclear power must be fully protected," Macron said.

          Fire damage to a transmission line at the plant had caused a blackout across the region on Thursday and heightened fears of a catastrophe in a country still haunted by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

          Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the facility.

          An official in the Zaporizhzhia region said on Friday that Ukrainian forces had broken the final power line connecting the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant with Ukraine, state-owned news agency TASS reported.

          TASS quoted Vladimir Rogov as saying that the plant is currently not supplying electricity to Ukraine.

          Accusations traded

          The workers were working to reconnect its reactors to the national power grid, the state energy operator Energoatom said on Friday.

          On Thursday, Energodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov said in a message on Telegram that Energodar, a city near the power plant, has been left without electricity and water following shelling carried out by Russian forces.

          The plant had been disconnected from the power grid for the first time in its history, Energoatom confirmed on the same day.

          At the United Nations, as 191 countries approach Friday's end to a four-week conference to review a landmark UN treaty aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear weapons, Moscow criticized the United States for its politicization of the issue.

          Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the US and its allies at the meeting of "politicizing the work on the final document, putting their geopolitical interests in punishing Russia above their collective needs in strengthening global security".

          "Against the backdrop of the actual sabotage by the collective West of the global security architecture, Russia continues to do everything possible to keep at least its key, vital elements afloat," Nebenzia said.

          Regarding Putin's move to boost the country's armed forces, the Russian president ordered the military to increase the number of troops by 137,000 to a total of 1.15 million.

          Putin's decree, which takes effect on Jan 1, will boost the overall number of military personnel to 2,039,758, including 1,150,628 troops. A previous order put the military's numbers at 1,902,758 and 1,013,628, respectively, at the start of 2018.

          The Kremlin has said that only volunteer contract soldiers were taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine, rejecting claims that it was pondering a mobilization.

          In Russia, men aged 18-27 must serve one year in the military, but a large share avoids the draft for health reasons or deferments granted to university students.

          Agencies - Xinhua

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