IAEA Chief Makes Surprise Visit to Ukraine for Safety Assistance

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi visited Ukraine on Tuesday to start providing safety assistance for the country’s nuclear facilities which were caught in the middle of the war.

“Just crossed the border into Ukraine to start IAEA’s mission,” Grossi tweeted. “We must act now to help prevent the danger of a nuclear accident.”

Grossi’s visit was unannounced and did not appear to have Russia’s blessing.

The IAEA said in a separate statement that Grossi’s visit to one power plant will include sending IAEA experts to prioritized facilities and shipping safety and security equipment. Neither Grossi nor the IAEA specified which plant will be visited.

Since the start of the conflict, Grossi has been calling on both Russia and Ukraine to land an agreement that will ensure the safety of the nuclear power plants, including the radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl, amid the war.

IAEA’s statement did not mention Russia.

The IAEA said it has “drawn up concrete and detailed plans for safety and security assistance to Ukraine’s nuclear sites, which include fifteen nuclear power reactors at four plants” as well as the Chernobyl site.

Russian troops have been holding Chernobyl and Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia since the onset of the invasion, spurring fears of a nuclear disaster in the areas.

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