Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, as seen from the city of Nikopol on November 7.
Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, as seen from the city of Nikopol on November 7. (Valentin Ogirenko / Reuters / File)

Talks continue with Kyiv and Moscow on establishing a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – but in the meantime the director of the UN nuclear watchdog is warning about the possible consequences.

“We cannot rely on luck to avoid a nuclear accident,” Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN on Wednesday.

Grossi said the talks were “moving forward” but “it’s an active war zone, so getting agreed parameters to it is not going to be an easy task.”

The IAEA director said he met with a Russian delegation in Turkey on Wednesday and spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday.

Grossi said, “I’m consulting with both. I don’t agree with the assessment that we’re not making any progress, I think we are.” “Of course, we are talking about something that is very difficult. This is war. This is real war and the security zone I propose is right on the front line, on the line where both Opponents are in contact.”

“But I do believe we are moving forward, and I hope that the painful episodes of this past weekend can paradoxically help us move forward, in the sense that people need to realize that We cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident,” he said.

Asked “who is playing with fire,” Grossi said, referencing his own comments from Sunday after the powerful explosions at the nuclear power plant on Saturday and Sunday, “It’s up to us to identify that from inside the plant.” Very difficult to identify who is doing this,” adding “by the way, our main goal is to stop this, not get into the attribution game.”

Later on Wednesday, the plant “once again lost access to external power” and instead relied on its emergency diesel generators for power needed for reactor cooling and other essential functions, the IAEA said in a statement.

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