A global nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that there is an “urgent” need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident related to shelling near Ukraine’s Zaporizhia power plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a new report on Tuesday, specifically called for an end to gunfire near the nuclear power plant and the establishment of a protection zone around it.
“Pending the end of the conflict and re-establishment of stable conditions there is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means,” the IAEA report said.
“This can be achieved by the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone,” it continued.
The report said that some damage had already been caused to parts of the plant, and that ongoing shelling could have worse consequences, including the “unlimited release of radioactive materials to the environment.”
Exposure to very high levels of radiation can cause skin burns, nausea, vomiting and sometimes death in the short-term. In the long-term, it can cause cancer.
Russia seized the Zaporizhia plant in March, around the start of its invasion of Ukraine. Recently, the IAEA warned of “renewed shelling” in the area, leading to concerns about a potential accident.