IAEA Warns Russia-Ukraine Nuclear Plant Attacks a Global Nuclear Threat

The International Atomic Energy Agency said recently that attacks on the largest nuclear power plant in Europe have put the world “dangerously close to a nuclear accident.”

On Monday, officials from both Ukraine and Russia appeared before the United Nations Security Council, blaming each other for the attacks.

Rafael Mariana Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, didn’t attribute blame in the incident. However, he has said that the agency he leads has been able to confirm that there have been three attacks at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant since just April 7.

The power plant has six nuclear reactors and is positioned in the southeastern portion of Ukraine, territory that Russia currently controls.

As Grossi told the UN Security Council:

“These reckless attacks must cease immediately. Though, fortunately, they have not led to a radiological incident this time, they significantly increase the risk … where nuclear safety is already compromised.”

The power plant has been attacked by drones that are remote-controlled. That means, according to Grossi, that it’s very difficult to determine which side launched them.

As he explained:

“In order to say something like that, we must have proof. These attacks have been performed with a multitude of drones.”

There have been many concerns about attacks at nuclear power plants since almost the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war in February of 2022. Not long after Russian troops entered Ukraine, they occupied the plant.

Continued fighting that’s been going on between the two sides, plus the tense situation with supply at the plant, raised the concern that a disaster could ultimately happen.

At the UN meeting on Monday, Ukraine and many of its allies blamed Russia for these attacks at the site.

Robert Wood, who’s the U.S. deputy ambassador, said to the Security Council:

“Russia does not care about these risks. If it did, it would not continue to forcibly control the plant.”

But, Russia, for its part, fired back, saying that Ukraine was the one that should be blamed for the attacks.

Vassily Nebenzia, the U.N. ambassador to Russia, said:

“The IAEA’s report does not pinpoint which side is behind the attacks. We know full well who it is. Over the last few months, such attacks not only resumed, they significantly intensified.”

But, Sergiy Kyslytsya, the ambassador to the U.N. for Ukraine, said the attacks are “a well-planned false flag operation by the Russian Federation.”

He claimed that Russia designed these attacks to distract the rest of the world from the fact that it has invaded Ukraine and is continuing to fight there.

The power plant facility in question is one of the 10 largest ones in the entire world. Fighting that’s been going on in the southeastern region of Ukraine near the plant has raised concerns that another nuclear disaster like the one that happened in 1986 at Chernobyl could happen all over again.

During that disaster, a reactor exploded at the plant, blowing deadly radiation across a very wide area.