IAEA team arrives in Zaporizhzhia to inspect Russia-controlled nuclear plant

Members of International Atomic Energy Agency mission stand by U.N. vehicles at hotel as they depart for visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in central Kyiv on Wednesday.

LVIV, Ukraine – An International Atomic Energy Agency inspection team arrived Wednesday in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, where it will be based while inspecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that is under Russian military control.

The team had departed from Kyiv earlier in the day.

The city of Zaporizhzhia is about 55 kilometers from the nuclear plant, which is in the city of Energodar. According to Reuters, the inspection will start Thursday and continue for several days. The inspectors will speak to employees at the plant and compile a report.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told reporters in Zaporizhzhia that talking with the plant’s workers would be “one of the most important things” for the team.

However, the Ukrainian military claimed that Russian forces had shelled Energodar shortly before the inspection team reached the city. It remains unclear whether the safety of the inspectors can be guaranteed during their stay in the area.

Grossi met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Tuesday. During their meeting, Zelenskyy said the nuclear plant should be returned to Ukrainian control and emphasized the importance of demilitarizing the plant and its vicinity.