Ukraine’s nuclear operator on Wednesday said it would support the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Russian-occupied nuclear plant of Zaporizhzhia, a day after the UN atomic watchdog called for a security zone around the plant.

The Zaporizhzhia power plant– Europe’s largest nuclear facility — has been occupied by Russian troops since March and there have been repeated attacks in its vicinity, sparking fears of a nuclear disaster.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the repeated shellings.

“One of the ways to create a security zone at the ZNPP could be to set up a peacekeeping contingent there and withdraw Russian troops,” Energoatom chief Petro Kotyn said in remarks broadcast by Ukrainian TV.


The remark comes after the UN atomic watchdog (IAEA) said the situation at the plant was “untenable” and called for “the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone” in a report published Tuesday.

Karine Herviou, the general director of the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, warned Wednesday of a potential “Fukushima-type scenario”.

“The main risk would be for the reactors to be cut from their power supplies” which could cause parts of the reactors to melt, Herviou said in an interview for French radio.

This could then “damage the reactors’ buildings and lead to very important radioactive releases,” she said.

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Herviou added that, although there had been no strikes on the reactors themselves, strikes on nearby buildings could also “result in radioactive elements being released into the environment.”

The IAEA sent a 14-person team led by its chief Rafael Grossi to the Zaporizhzhia power plant last week. Two members of the team are expected to remain there on a permanent basis to monitor the plant’s safety.

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