Russian-held nuclear plant faces critical shortage of spare parts, says Kyiv

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A view of a damaged building at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant compound in Enerhodar

KYIV (Reuters) - Europe's largest nuclear power plant that lies in Russian-occupied Ukraine faces a critical shortage of spare parts, threatening the safety of its operations, Ukraine's military intelligence agency said on Friday.

The plant in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia was occupied by Russian troops shortly after its Feb. 24 invasion, but the facility is still operated by Ukrainian technicians.

"A critical situation has developed at the ... plant in terms of ensuring stable and safe operations. There are practically no spare parts and expendable materials left," the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence said.

The facility is being operated by week-long rotations of staff who have all of their personal belongings and phones taken from them when they begin, it said in a statement.

Then-Soviet Ukraine was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident at its now-defunct Chornobyl atomic power station north of Kyiv in 1986.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) completed a three-day trip to the Chornobyl plant on Friday to ensure safety at the site during the war in Ukraine and said that it also wanted to visit the Zaporizhzhia plant.

"The Director General is now also continuing his efforts to organise an IAEA mission to (the plant) to carry out important nuclear safety, security and safeguards activities at this site in the country's south," it said in a statement on its website.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kyiv and Francois Murphy in Vienna; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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