IAEA Demands Russia Withdraw From Ukraine Nuclear Plant

The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board of governors has adopted a resolution demanding that Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, diplomats who attended a closed-door meeting on Thursday in Vienna said.

The resolution adopted by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calls on Russia to “immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine.”

The 35-member board passed the resolution with 26 votes in favor, two against, and seven abstentions, diplomats said, adding that Russia and China voted against.

The resolution also says the military occupation of the plant significantly increases the risk of a nuclear accident that would endanger the population of Ukraine, neighboring states, and the international community.

The Russian military and the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom should suspend all activities at the nuclear plant and hand control back to Ukrainian authorities, the resolution said.

Russia’s mission to the IAEA said “the Achilles’ heel of this resolution” was that it said nothing about the systematic shelling of the plant.

“The reason is simple — this shelling is carried out by Ukraine, which is supported and shielded by Western countries in every possible way,” it said in a statement.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has repeatedly come under fire in recent weeks, raising grave concerns at the IAEA. Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the attacks.

An IAEA delegation visited the plant earlier this month and reported that the site had been damaged by the shelling.

The power plant was completely shut down at the weekend, and power lines have been restored to ensure the cooling of nuclear fuel rods and waste, which is essential to prevent a meltdown.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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