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IAEA: Nuke Plant Attacks Risky to World04/16 06:16

   Russia and Ukraine on Monday traded blame before the United Nations Security 
Council for the attacks on Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which the head 
of the International Atomic Energy Agency said have put the world "dangerously 
close to a nuclear accident."

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Russia and Ukraine on Monday traded blame before the 
United Nations Security Council for the attacks on Europe's largest nuclear 
power plant, which the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said have 
put the world "dangerously close to a nuclear accident."

   Without attributing blame, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said 
his agency has been able to confirm three attacks against the Zaporizhzhia 
Nuclear Power Plant since April 7.

   "These reckless attacks must cease immediately," he told the Security 
Council. "Though, fortunately, they have not led to a radiological incident 
this time, they significantly increase the risk ... where nuclear safety is 
already compromised."

   The remote-controlled nature of the drones that have attacked the plant 
means that it is impossible to definitively determine who launched them, Grossi 
told reporters after the meeting.

   "In order to say something like that, we must have proof," he said. "These 
attacks have been performed with a multitude of drones."

   Zaporizhzhia sits in Russian-controlled territory in southeastern Ukraine 
and has six nuclear reactors.

   Fears of a nuclear catastrophe have been at the forefront since Russian 
troops occupied the plant shortly after invading in February 2022. Continued 
fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces -- as well as the tense supply 
situation at the plant -- have raised the specter of a disaster.

   Ukraine and its allies on Monday again blamed Russia for dangers at the 
site, with the United States saying, "Russia does not care about these risks."

   "If it did, it would not continue to forcibly control the plant," U.S. 
deputy ambassador Robert Wood told the Security Council, which met at the 
initiative of the U.S. and Slovenia.

   Russia, for its part, said Ukraine was to blame for the attacks.

   "The IAEA's report does not pinpoint which side is behind the attacks," 
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said. "We know full well who it is."

   "Over the last few months, such attacks not only resumed," Nebenzia said, 
"they significantly intensified."

   Ukraine's ambassador to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya, called the attacks "a 
well-planned false flag operation by the Russian Federation," which he alleged 
Russia had designed to distract the world from its invasion of its neighbor.

   The Zaporizhzhia facility is one of the 10 biggest nuclear plants in the 
world. Fighting in the southern part of Ukraine where it is located has raised 
the specter of a potential nuclear disaster like the one at Chernobyl in 1986, 
where a reactor exploded and blew deadly radiation across a vast area.

   Neither Russia nor Ukraine in recent months has been able to make 
significant advances along the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line crossing 
eastern and southern Ukraine. Drones, artillery and missiles have featured 
heavily in what has become a war of attrition.

   Russia and Ukraine have frequently traded accusations over the Zaporizhzhia 
plant.

   The most recent strikes did not compromise the facility, which is designed 
to withstand a commercial airliner crashing into it, the IAEA said.

   The plant's six reactors have been shut down for months, but it still needs 
power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety 
features.

 
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