Vienna, June 8. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will reinforce its presence at the Zaporiyia Nuclear Power Plant next week, following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, which affects the reservoir from which the water that cools the complex's reactors flows.
"Now more than ever, the IAEA's reinforced presence at the Zaporiyia Nuclear Power Plant is of vital importance to help prevent the danger of a nuclear accident and its possible consequences for people and the environment at a time of increased military activity in the region," the UN atomic agency's director general, Argentine Rafael Grossi, said in a statement.
The Argentine diplomat will travel in person next week to assess the damage to the nuclear power plant and will be accompanied by a reinforced team of international officials who will remain at the complex.
The nuclear power plant has increased all of its cooling water reserves for the reactors in the face of declining levels in the Kakhovka reservoir, and, according to the IAEA, those own reservoirs will be sufficient for "several months."
The plant is shut down, but the six reactors and spent fuel still require water for cooling, which prevents reactor meltdowns and a possible release of radioactive material.
The water level in the reservoir has so far dropped by about 2.8 meters since the dam was destroyed early Tuesday, reaching 14.03 meters on Wednesday, according to the IAEA.
The rate at which the water is dropping is between 5 and 7 centimeters per hour and if the level falls below 12.7 meters, the nuclear power plant will no longer be able to pump water from the reservoir.
"Since the full extent of damage to the dam is not yet known, it is not possible to predict if and when this might occur," the UN nuclear agency says.
Grossi stressed the importance of keeping the plant's other water sources intact, especially the large cooling pool near the complex.EFE