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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hopes to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine to create a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by the end of the year, Reuters reported, citing UN nuclear watchdog Director General Rafael Grossi.

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Europe's largest nuclear power plant produced about a fifth of Ukraine's electricity before the Russian invasion, and after the start of the war it was occupied by Russia and several times forced to run on backup generators.

Multiple shelling in the area has raised concerns about the potential for a major accident just 500 kilometers from Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear accident in history.

"My commitment is to reach a solution as soon as possible. I hope by the end of the year," said Raphael Grossi to the Italian newspaper "Republika".

The IAEA has again called on Russia to withdraw from the Zaporizhia NPP

Grossi did not rule out the possibility of holding meetings with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Our goal is to avoid a nuclear accident, not to create a military situation that would benefit one side or the other," the IAEA director general added.

Russian invasion of Ukraine

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Zaporizhzhia NPP