Zaporizhzhia has been controlled by Russian forces since early March. In recent weeks, Ukrainian troops have shelled this facility on several occasions.
In a report released in Vienna on Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called for establishing a "nuclear safety and security protection zone" around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, whose safety has raised international concerns amid recent shelling.
The IAEA is ready to start immediate consultations for establishing such a safety zone to "prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means," the UN agency said.
"While the ongoing shelling has not yet triggered a nuclear emergency, it continues to represent a constant threat to nuclear safety and security with potential impact on critical safety functions that may lead to radiological consequences with great safety significance," the IAEA pointed out, adding that it remains "gravely concerned" about the situation at the embattled facility.
Zaporizhzhia, one of Europe's largest nuclear power plants, has been controlled by Russia since early March, while its Ukrainian staff has continued to operate it. In recent weeks, the plant has been attacked by Ukrainian troops, who have shelled the facility on several occasions.
As the IAEA field report was released on Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry also denounced that Ukrainian troops had attacked the city of Energodar and the Zaporizhia nuclear plant 15 times in the last 24 hours.
On August 29, IAEA Director Rafael Grossi led a 14-member expert mission to Zaporizhzhia. Two of those experts have remained at the facility on a permanent basis to ensure its safety.
The experts will "carry out detailed and continuous work to assess the physical damage to the plant's facilities, determine the functionality of the main and backup safety and security systems, and evaluate the staff's working conditions, in addition to performing safeguards activities," the IAEA pointed out.