On Monday, the head of the United Nations’ atomic energy organization met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to alert him to the deteriorating situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. The UN official warned that the relentless fighting near the plant is putting it in danger of a nuclear disaster.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is deploying personnel to all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to reduce the potential danger of an accident. 

This week, Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be making a trip to the plant under Russian control. Since Russia’s invasion happened one year ago, the Vienna-based agency has permanently stationed workers at the facility.

At the beginning of the month, a disruption in the power supply caused the plant to go without electricity for twelve hours, prompting staff to turn on their backup generators.

Amid the conflict in Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhia facility has had to endure the loss of several of its power transmission cables. This has meant that emergency diesel generators had to be used multiple times to keep essential cooling systems running, averting a meltdown.

Still, Grossi was highly concerned about this advancement. “We are gambling,” he warned his organization at that moment. “If we keep on doing this repeatedly, eventually, our fortune will be depleted.”

In January, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared that it was sending teams of specialists to all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations to lower the chances of accidents occurring.

The agency has also set up a continuous presence at all Ukrainian nuclear power sites, a first in its history. This includes the Chernobyl plant, which had a devastating nuclear disaster in 1986 that spread radiation across most of Europe.