Western officials say the situation in and around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine is not as dire as has been portrayed after concerns were raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
IAEA director general Rafael Grossi told the AP new agency that the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP was “completely out of control.”
“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant, he said in the exclusive interview published on Tuesday. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous.”
CNN has reached out to the IAEA independently for comment has not heard back.
Western officials have downplayed the actual danger, saying that, although they understand some of the IAEA’s concerns, they “don’t think [the situation] is as dire as it is necessarily been painted in in the media at the moment.”
“We agree that for the IAEA to monitor that plant, it’s really challenging and it is difficult for the IAEA to fulfil its mission,” the officials said. “But actually in terms of the safety and security of that site at the moment, whilst it is degraded in terms of like normal operating levels, it is still functioning and functioning effectively.”
The officials added that Ukraine would be careful not to strike the plant, even if Russia uses it as a launching platform for artillery strikes.
“Russia might use the site as a safe 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.
“Bear in mind that nuclear power plants are designed to withstand terrorist attacks including aircraft hitting reactors, etc,” the officials added. “So please don’t think that we’re looking at Chernobyl like situation that’s not the case.”