Western officials say the situation in and around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is not as dire as it was portrayed after concerns were raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told the new AP agency that the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was “completely out of control”.
“All nuclear safety principles were violated” at the plant, he said in the exclusive interview published on Tuesday. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous.”
CNN has independently contacted the IAEA for a comment with no response.
Western officials have played down the real danger, saying that while they understand some of the IAEA’s concerns, they “don’t think [the situation] is as serious as it is necessarily portrayed in the media right now.
“We agree that for the IAEA to monitor this plant, it is really difficult and it is difficult for the IAEA to fulfill its mission,” the officials said. “But in fact, in terms of the safety and security of this site at the moment, although it is degraded in terms of normal operating levels, it is still functioning and operating effectively.”
Officials added that Ukraine would be careful not to hit the plant, even if Russia uses it as a launch pad for artillery strikes.
“Russia could use the site as a security zone, from which to carry out defensive operations. Ukraine will consider very carefully how to avoid taking major risks around the site,” the officials said.
“Keep in mind that nuclear power plants are designed to withstand terrorist attacks, including planes hitting reactors, etc.,” the officials added. “So please don’t think we’re looking at a Chernobyl-like situation, we’re not.”