Ukraine works to reactivate reactor of occupied nuclear plant, according to Energoatom director

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The long-awaited visit of UN experts to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant would be a success if it led to the “demilitarization” of the facility, director of the Ukrainian state nuclear enterprise.

Energoatom chief Petro Kotin told Reuters at a Ukrainian-controlled checkpoint on the way to the plant, saying Ukrainian authorities were making “every effort” to restart the plant’s fifth reactor. , after it went dark due to shelling early Thursday.

Kotin said the fact that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its director, Rafael Grossi, were able to visit the plant on Thursday after months of negotiations marked progress. However, he added that Russia had tried to publicize the visit by excluding independent journalists.

Kotin condemned as “illegal” the presence of an official from Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom at Thursday’s facilitated visit to the IAEA.

The nuclear plant, located in southern Ukraine, has been controlled by the Russian military since shortly after the Russian invasion of the country began in February, but is still operated by Ukrainian personnel.

Kotin said Ukraine’s top priority was to demilitarize the plant and the surrounding area to prevent a nuclear accident.

“If this mission helps to achieve that, then it will be a success,” he said, adding that he hopes the IAEA visit will mark a “step forward” towards that goal.

Shortly after the Reuters interview, Energoatom said in a Telegram message that Grossi, who was leading the agency’s 14-person delegation to the plant, had left the facility. He added that five members of the mission had remained in Zaporizhia, and would probably stay until Saturday.

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