Vienna [Austria], November 22 (ANI): A team of independent inspectors from the UN's nuclear watchdog on Monday reported "no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns" at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after shelling over the weekend, according to an official statement.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi in a statement said the team assessed the damage to the site Monday and concluded that "despite the severity of the shelling - key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns."
IAEA experts assessed the extent of damage to the Zaporizhzhya NPP site caused by the intense and severe shelling. They confirmed no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns and key equipment is intact despite widespread damage across the site.
However, "widespread damage" was still observed at the site, it said, which maintenance staff has already begun to repair. Grossi described the damage as "a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks."
"This is a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks on one of the world's largest nuclear power plants," said Director General Rafael MarianoGrossi who is intensifying consultations to establish a protection zone for Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
Non-radioactive leaks were caused by damage to condensate storage tanks and the team observed "several impacts on the main road along the plant's reactors as well as on a site railway that is now out of service," the IAEA statement said.
The team also observed a "pressurized air pipeline hit by shrapnel, two impacts on the roof of a special auxiliary building, minor visible damage to a sprinkler charging pipeline, as well as two impacts in a guardhouse area."
No further attacks had taken place in the plant's vicinity overnight or throughout Monday so far, "though there had been shelling in the area of the nearby city of Enerhodar and the industrial area," according to the IAEA team.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he held an "urgent call" with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the security situation at the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, reported CNN.
Macron informed Zelenskyy of his "deep concern" following recent strikes in and around the site, according to a readout of the call. Macron told reporters on Monday that a "threat" still hangs over the plant.
The French president also spoke with the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, on Sunday to discuss the plant and the pursuit of the demilitarization of the site, according to the Elysee Palace, reported CNN.
There has been frequent shelling in and around the plant and more powerful explosions were heard there over the weekend, the IAEA said on Sunday. Russian and Ukrainian officials have blamed each other for recent shelling at the plant.
The head of Russia's nuclear energy agency Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, said Monday the power plant is "at risk of a nuclear accident."
IAEA said its team of experts were planning to conduct an assessment of the shelling impact on the site on Monday.
Russian and Ukrainian officials blamed each other for recent shelling at the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, with the IAEA chief warning that whoever was responsible was "playing with fire."
Ukraine says it will begin voluntary evacuations from areas in the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions because damage to infrastructure from Russian strikes has made it perilous for residents as temperatures drop.
The city of Kherson is still without electricity, said an official in the office of President Zelenskyy.
Residents of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson are to be evacuated to other regions of the country with working electricity and more intact infrastructure for the winter -- specifically women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, according to officials.
The Black Sea port city, which was recently liberated from Russian troops, is without electricity and authorities say the city's infrastructure has been too damaged for citizens to survive winter. (ANI)