UN nuclear watchdog's board sets emergency meeting after Zaporizhzhia attacks

UN nuclear watchdog's board sets emergency meeting after Zaporizhzhia attacks
April 9, 202410:36 PM EDTUpdated 13 hours ago
VIENNA, April 9 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday at the request of both Ukraine and Russia to discuss attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, after the enemies accused each other of drone attacks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said drones struck the Russian-held facility in southern Ukraine on Sunday, hitting one reactor building. It has not ascribed blame but has demanded such attacks stop.
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Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine had again attacked the plant with drones, for a third day. Kyiv said it had nothing to do with any such attacks, and any incidents were staged by Moscow.
Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused one another of targeting Zaporizhzhia since it was captured by Russian forces in the first weeks of Moscow's invasion of its neighbour in 2022; both sides deny attacking it.
All reactors are shut down at Europe's largest nuclear power station, located near the Ukraine war's front line, but it requires constant power to cool the reactors and prevent a potentially catastrophic meltdown.
In a confidential note to member states seen by Reuters on Tuesday, the chairperson of the 35-member IAEA Board said Ukraine and Russia had both written to him the previous day requesting an extraordinary meeting.
"I hereby notify the Members of the Board that a meeting of the Board has been arranged as follows: 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Thursday, 11 April 2024," the note said.
Russian and Ukrainian letters were attached to the chairperson's note. Russia said it wanted a meeting on "the recent attacks and provocations of the armed forces of Ukraine" against Zaporizhzhia. Kyiv said it wanted to discuss "the situation in Ukraine and the safety, security and safeguards implications".
The rules, opens new tabof the Board, the Vienna-based IAEA's top decision-making body that meets several times a year, state that any country on it can call a meeting. Both Russia and Ukraine are on the Board this year.
A Board meeting would be unlikely to bring clarity as to who was behind recent attacks.
The Board has passed four resolutions since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 condemning Russian actions against Ukrainian nuclear facilities. The most recent was last month, calling on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia.
Only China has joined Russia in opposing those resolutions. Diplomats said they had not heard of a push for a resolution on Thursday, which would be more difficult at such short notice.
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Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Andrew Heavens, Philippa Fletcher, Mark Heinrich, Peter Graff