The UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was informed by Ukraine's energy regulator on Friday that the power output at two nuclear power plants was reduced as a precaution after sustained Russian shelling.
The IAEA said in a statement that the power plants in Rivne and in southern Ukraine "had reduced power output as a precautionary measure due to renewed shelling of the country’s energy infrastructure."
The shelling of a third plant — the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine — caused one of the plant's reactor units to "shut down," continued the statement. The UN watchdog added that its own support and assistance missions present on the ground had confirmed that "all nuclear safety systems at Khmelnytskyi worked as expected."
Talks with Russia: IAEA chief Rafael Grossi held talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow this week. According to the IAEA, the talks were part of the lengthy efforts to "agree and implement a much-needed nuclear safety and security protection zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP)."
The UN watchdog said it has been unable to rotate its team of experts present in the plant in southern Ukraine due to "increased military activity."
After meeting on Thursday with the head of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, and an intergovernmental group of the Russian Federation, Grossi met representatives from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday, according to the statement.
As the meetings wrapped, Grossi said he remained hopeful that the safety zone will be established while acknowledging it should've been done earlier. He also raised the idea of the zone during recent talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, according to the IAEA statement.
“The situation around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant remains volatile and unpredictable, as it is an active combat zone. The postponement of the planned rotation demonstrates all too clearly the need for urgent measures to protect the plant and the people working there,” Grossi stressed.