In the wake of the brutal Russia-Ukraine war, a senior United States Defence official on Monday stated that the scientists of President Joe Biden’s administration are monitoring ‘radiation sensor data’ at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP) and so far, have not detected any evidence of increasing or “abnormal radiation levels.” According to a statement from the US Department of Defence, its official said that US’ main concern with the Zaporizhzhia NPP is asking Russia to leave so that Ukraine may operate the facility peacefully.
The official added by saying, “So our focus is on pressing the Russians to cease military operations in the area.” In terms of the plant’s actual operation, they are committed to making sure that the IAEA can deploy its mission there and guarantee the security of those activities, the official added.
The Defence official further asserted that the US is aware of the fact that under really difficult conditions, the Ukrainian plant operators are doing their best. “We have seen reports of how the Russians have been pressuring them and harassing them and we applaud their efforts to maintain that safety,” the official added.
According to the Pentagon’s statement, the official said, “We believe that the safest outcome would be a controlled shutdown of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant reactors, that this would be the least risky course of action in the near term.”
A team of UN nuclear energy departed for the Zaporizhzhia NPP
Meanwhile, on Monday, August 29, after months of escalating hostilities between Ukrainian and Russian forces, with both sides accusing one another of shelling near Zaporizhzhia NPP, a team of United Nations nuclear energy specialists departed to reach Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and ensure its safety.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Rafael Grossi tweeted that he was proud to lead the organization’s Support & Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia, which Russian soldiers have been occupying since immediately after their invasion of Ukraine. He wrote, “The day has come, @IAEAorg’s Support and Assistance Mission to #Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) is now on its way.”
According to the UN News report, IAEA chief Grossi stated that the specialists’ first priority upon their arrival in Zaporizhzhia “later this week” would be conducting damage assessments and determining if safety and security systems are still functional. Checking on the well-being of the Ukrainian workers who are currently working at the facility, which is the home to six of the nation’s 15 nuclear reactors– is another critical responsibility.
In addition to this, Grossi has repeatedly demanded access to Zaporizhzhia in recent weeks and months. He has also urged all military personnel to withdraw from the plant so that it cannot be considered a target.
Given the unpredictability of the situation and the enormous potential threat of a nuclear catastrophe, the IAEA Director-General warned during a Security Council meeting earlier this month that “time is of the essence”, UN News reported.