Russia has not granted access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor roofs: IAEA

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Moscow has still not let the UN nuclear watchdog inspect the reactor rooftops at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the watchdog said on Thursday, two weeks after it first requested what it said was “essential” access.

On July 4 Russia and Ukraine accused each other of plotting to stage an attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, where the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly warned of potential catastrophe from nearby military clashes.

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A small IAEA team based at the plant has sought to verify the accusations, saying it has seen no signs of foul play so far.

“(IAEA) experts have carried out additional inspections and walkdowns at Ukraine’s [Zaporizhzhia] Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) over the past week – so far without observing any heavy military equipment, explosives or mines – but they are still awaiting access to the rooftops of the reactor buildings,” that IAEA said in a statement on Thursday, its first on Ukraine in a week.

The IAEA said on July 5 that access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 was “essential” as was access to parts of the turbine halls. Ukraine’s armed forces had said the day before that “operational data” showed “explosive devices” had been placed on the roofs of those two reactor units.

Thursday’s statement said IAEA inspectors had visited various areas of reactor units 1-4 this month.

“While the IAEA experts saw transport trucks in the turbine halls of units 1, 2, and 4, there was no visible indication of explosives or mines,” the agency said.

“The team has not yet been granted requested access to the roofs of the reactors and their turbine halls, including units 3 and 4 which are of particular interest. The Agency continues to request such access.”

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