Diplomats: the IAEA will present a plan to protect Zaporizhia

Diplomats: the IAEA will present a plan to protect Zaporizhia
Diplomats: the IAEA will present a plan to protect Zaporizhia

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, plans to bring before the UN Security Council this month a deal between Russia and Ukraine aimed at protecting the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, four diplomats told Reuters, suggesting a deal is close.

Grossi has been trying for months to find a solution to reduce the chances of a nuclear catastrophe that might result from the bombing of Zaporizhia, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Russia occupied the Ukrainian station more than a year ago.

And with Ukraine preparing a counterattack in the region, there is a possibility that fighting could rage near the plant and its six reactors. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of carrying out bombing operations that have repeatedly cut power lines necessary to cool reactors and prevent nuclear meltdown.

“It seems promising,” said one of the diplomats. Others said Ukraine, which had long opposed the plan, now supports it, but Russia’s position is less clear.

“The plan (to present the deal to the Security Council) will take place this month, but the exact date has not been decided yet,” the diplomat said. He added that Grossi was in contact with Switzerland, which holds the monthly presidency of the Security Council, about the date.

The diplomats said Grossi would lay out what are known as “principles” for protecting the plant, which would then receive the backing of Russia and Ukraine. Some of them have been known for a long time, such as not firing at or from the station.

Grossi has repeatedly warned of the consequences of a serious accident at the station and the need to take urgent measures to protect it. In response to a request for comment, the agency said that Grossi “remains engaged in intensive negotiations with all parties concerned to provide protection for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.”

His plan changed over time as parts were opposed by one side or the other. It was originally supposed to create a “protection zone” within a circle with a specific radius around the facility, but that idea was abandoned long ago.

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