India has said at the United Nations that it attaches high importance to ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
“With a view to not endangering the safety and security of nuclear facilities and personnel working there, we reiterate our call for strict mutual restraint,” India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said at a Security Council meeting on the dangers to the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Kamboj underlined that any accident involving nuclear facilities could potentially have severe consequences for public health and the environment. Appreciating the recent visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency team to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Kamboj stressed that India continues to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine.
She said since the beginning of the conflict, India has consistently called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and an end to violence.
“India attaches high importance to ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, as any accident involving nuclear facilities could potentially have severe consequences for public health and the environment,” she said.
Althought the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is under Russian occupation, it continued to be operated by Ukrainians.
The area around the facility has seen shelling and besides the risk of a direct hit, it also faces the danger of losing its ability to cool its reactors and spent fuel should it lose power internally and from the Ukraine grid leading to a meltdown.
As Russia and Ukraine continue to trade charges on who is responsible for endangering the plant, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for demilitarising the area around the facility, warning that “any damage, whether intentional or not, to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, or to any other nuclear facility in Ukraine, could spell catastrophe, not only for the immediate vicinity, but for the region and beyond”.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who visited the plant last week, said: “We are playing with fire… Something very, very catastrophic could take place.”
The IAEA issued a report on Tuesday that also called for the “immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone” around the plant.