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UN Nuclear Agency Raises Alarm Over Water Levels at Ukrainian Facility

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s nuclear monitor, revealed on Sunday that it requires broader access to the area surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility to investigate an important anomaly in the water levels at the compromised Kakhovka dam, which cools the power plant's reactors.

Rafael Grossi, the director of the IAEA, who plans to inspect the facility later this week, stated that based on the agency's data from the plant's water intake, the dam's water levels appeared to be steady for about 24 hours over the weekend.

"Nonetheless, the water level is allegedly dropping in other parts of the massive reservoir, potentially leading to a variation of approximately two meters," Grossi declared in an official release. He added, "The water level's height is critical for maintaining the functionality of the water pumps."

Last week's demolition of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine resulted in the flooding of towns downstream and the displacement of thousands of individuals.

Russia has maintained control over both the Kakhovka dam and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility since the onset of its invasion in February 2022.

The IAEA explained that the water from the reservoir serves to cool the plant's six reactors and the spent fuel storage area.

"This inconsistency in the documented levels could be attributed to a separate water body detached from the main part of the reservoir," Grossi suggested in his official statement. He continued, "Our understanding will only improve once we gain access to the thermal power plant."

Stressing the thermal power plant's crucial role in maintaining the safety and security of the nearby nuclear power plant, Grossi highlighted the need for access and independent evaluation.

The IAEA previously indicated that, should the reservoir's water supply become unavailable, the Zaporizhzhia plant has other water sources it could rely on, including a sizeable cooling pond situated above the reservoir, which has a reserve of water that could last several months.

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