Workers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine say they are being “tortured” in an effort to keep them silent ahead of an imminent inspection by a United Nations watchdog group.

The allegations were made by Ukraine’s nuclear power company Energoatom on Saturday, amid its warning over the high potential for a hydrogen or radioactive leak, as shelling continued near the plant.

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been a flashpoint in the war as both sides in the conflict trade accusations of targeting the plant with increased shelling in a situation that could become a nuclear crisis for the immediate area, as well as for the entire European continent.

Energoatom has warned about the high potential for a hydrogen or radioactive leak, as shelling continued near the plant.
The allegations were made by Ukraine’s nuclear power company Energoatom.
AFP via Getty Images

The power station was temporarily knocked offline Thursday before resuming operations Friday.

Dominance of the plant, which is located in southeastern Ukraine, has been key to Russian forces as they seek to establish “full control” in the surrounding Donbas region.

Energoatom on Saturday said damage to the facility’s infrastructure has already increased “risks of hydrogen leakage and [the] sputtering of radioactive substances.”

And, the country’s nuclear agency called for “immediate measures” from the international community “to force Russia to liberate the ZNPP and transfer the power plant to the control of our country for the sake of the security of the whole world.”

This increase is due to the shelling within the area.
Energoatom said damage to the facility’s infrastructure has already increased “risks of hydrogen leakage and [the] sputtering of radioactive substances.”
REUTERS

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has been preparing to gain access to the site since the shelling began several weeks ago, according to reports.

It’s not clear when representatives from the IAEA will arrive at the plant, but the group’s director general Rafael Grossi said Friday that he hopes the inspection will happen “in the next few days.”

Grossi, who last visited the plant in March, said the Ukrainian nuclear specialists who work there “continue to perform their duties and maintain, as far as possible during the war, the safety of the nuclear facilities.”

Russian forces seek to establish "full control" in the surrounding Donbas region.
Control of the plant has been key to Russian forces.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

But he said that “the morale and the emotional state” of staff at Zaporizhzhia was “very low.”

The “situation will become unsustainable,” continued Grossi, who is proposing to lead the new inspection team to the plant at “the earliest possible opportunity.”

Russian forces have reportedly brought in officials from Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company, which is demanding daily updates from the Ukraine plant.

According to a recent Telegram post cited by Fox News, there is “an atmosphere of fear” among the Ukrainian workers at Zaporizhzhia who worry that they will be arrested by the Russians, who took over the plant in May. Some workers said that they feared being taken to basement rooms where they would be interrogated.

Employees at the plant also said they suspect that Russia will reduce the number of Ukrainian workers during the IAEA inspection and place “several Russian representatives in each room of the control center.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for international pressure to Russia to withdraw from the station, stating that “every minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster.”

 



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