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IAEA requests more access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in hunt for explosives

Largest nuclear facility in Europe has been a major source of anxiety since Ukraine conflict began

Members of International Atomic Energy Agency inspect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in 2022 amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Photo by (IAEA) Press Office/UPI
Members of International Atomic Energy Agency inspect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in 2022 amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Photo by (IAEA) Press Office/UPI | License Photo

July 7 (UPI) -- Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday they found no evidence of mines or other explosives at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after its latest search.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said inspectors were able to visit a gate separating a cooling pond at the plant from the reservoir of the Kakhovka dam that was destroyed last month as well as a gate separating a discharge channel from the Zaporizhzhia Thermal Power Plant from the reservoir.

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Grossi said the experts still need to gain access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 and the turbine halls to confirm that no mines or other explosives are planted at the facility.

"I remain hopeful this access will be granted soon. I will continue to report about developments in this regard," he said.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of sabotage, leading to several searches of the plant that have so far turned up no signs of treachery by either nation.

The latest inspections come a month after Ukraine accused the Russian military of destroying the hydroelectric dam at Kakhovka reservoir, which had served as a critical downstream cooling source for the plant.

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Crews plugged the dam with counterweights and sand, which had also helped to keep water from leaking out of the cooling pond.

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