Guterres: “Any action that endangers the security of the Zaporizhia plant is unacceptable”

Guterres: "Any action that endangers the security of the Zaporizhia plant is unacceptable"

The General secretary The UN continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia and its surroundings, as well as about the information it receives about the recent bombings in that area.

During a session of Security Council Dedicated to the latest events at the Ukrainian plant, António Guterres stressed on Tuesday that “any damage, intentional or not, to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia -or to any other nuclear facility in Ukraine- could be a catastrophe, not only for the immediate vicinity, but for the region and beyond.”

The head of the UN reiterated the need to take “all the necessary measures to avoid this situation” and appealed to “common sense and cooperation” as the “path to follow”, since “any action that endangers the physical integrity , the safety or security of the nuclear power plant is unacceptable.”

Therefore, he stressed that all efforts to restore the activities of the plant as civil infrastructure are “vital” and explained the two steps to achieve it.

First of all, he asked the Russian and Ukrainian forces to commit not to undertake any kind of military activity in the direction of the plant or from it, since “Zaporijia and its surroundings should not be a target or a platform for military operations. ”.

Next, he highlighted the need to reach an agreement “on a demilitarized perimeter” that would imply “the commitment of the Russian forces to withdraw all personnel and military equipment from that perimeter and the commitment of the Ukrainian forces not to enter it” .

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, victim of the conflict in Ukraine

He then regretted that the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which concluded at the end of August without consensus, was “a victim of the war in Ukraine”.

“The final document sought to address the issue of the safety of nuclear power plants in areas of armed conflict, including Ukraine. But the Conference was unable to reach a consensus to take advantage of the opportunity to consolidate the Treaty,” he said, calling on States to use all channels of dialogue and diplomacy “to advance on these fundamental issues.”

Looking to the future, Guterres trusted that the mission of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency deployed in Zaporizhia since last week can carry out its work “without obstacles” and that it contributes “to guaranteeing permanent nuclear safety at the plant”.

“Direct evaluation on the ground is unprecedented”

For his part, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described as “historic” the mission that he led last week to Zaporizhia.

Rafael Mariano Grossi -who participated in the session by teleconference- indicated that the task provides “precious instruments” that offer “a neutral, impartial and technical reading of the situation” and that are included in the report published today by the agency.

“But, in addition, what is also of enormous value is the fact that the IAEA inspectors have remained on site. So, right now, the IAEA and (…) the United Nations and the international community have the ability to have a direct and immediate assessment of the situation on the ground. These events are unprecedented, ”he stressed.

Grossi recalled that past IAEA inspections of places that had gone through difficult circumstances, “such as Chernobyl or Fukushima, or even in armed conflicts such as Iraq”, had always occurred “after the fact to pick up the pieces and come together to correct what was already it had ocurred. In this case, we have a historical and ethical imperative to prevent something from happening.”

Previously, Grossi listed the conclusions of his visit to the nuclear power plant, reflected in the report released today.

Among them, Grossi affirms that the physical integrity of Zaporizhia was violated and continues to be violated. “The physical attack knowingly or not, the impacts that this facility has received and that I was able to personally see, evaluate together with my experts, is simply unacceptable. We are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could happen,” he warned.

Like Guterres, the IAEA report proposes establishing a protection zone limited to the perimeter and the plant itself.

Grossi indicated that the workers of the plant operate in extremely difficult circumstances together with military equipment and vehicles in different parts of the plant, for which he requested the removal of all this equipment.

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