The International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations reports that a three-hour delay has occurred in the inspection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on the Ukrainian side of the front line due to the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian government and Russia.
According to Reuters, the Ukrainian checkpoint where the UN convoy is waiting is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the front line, where new shelling has taken place. They claimed to be holding off until they felt it was safe to move forward. When it comes to the International Atomic Energy Agency, this is one of their toughest missions ever (IAEA).
Plant operations are being conducted in Zaporizhzhia, which is located in a highly volatile region of southern Ukraine. The inspectors’ convoy will have to pass through territory held by both armies, known as the “grey zone,” to reach their destination. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the risks were “significant,” but the mission was “very important.”
Given how difficult it has been to schedule this meeting, it is perhaps not surprising that details of the agreements reached during the visit remain murky.
The 14-person inspection team is there to assess the facility’s damage from the ongoing fighting and to speak with the Ukrainian technicians who are still operating the facility while it is under Russian control.
However, how much time they will be able to spend at the plant is currently unknown. While Grossi had hoped for a longer stay, the Russian-appointed local authorities have said he will only be there for a day or two at most. Even now, it’s unclear what kind of access they’ll have.