VIENNA — Rafael Grossi, the head of the United Nation's nuclear watchdog, said on Saturday he plans to visit the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine next week.
It will be Grossi's second time crossing Ukraine's front line to visit Europe's biggest nuclear power plant. His first trip was in September, when fears over the potential for a nuclear accident were running high.
"I've decided to travel again to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to see for myself how the situation has evolved since September and to talk to those operating the facility in these unprecedented and very difficult circumstances. I remain determined to continue doing everything in my power to help reduce the risk of a nuclear accident during the tragic war in Ukraine," Grossi said in a statement.
The head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said the situation remained "precarious" despite the presence of agency experts at the plant.
The plant was occupied by troops loyal to Moscow in March 2022, shortly after the start of Russia's invasion against Ukraine.
It is located in the city of Enerhodar near the front line and has come under fire several times. Both sides hold the other responsible.
For safety reasons, the plant was put in a cold shutdown last year.
But this does not eliminate the danger of a nuclear accident, the IAEA warns, especially if external power supplies fail. The electricity is needed to keep reactors cool and other essential safety operations running.