"We must take urgent action [...] to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident that could have a severe health and environmental impact both in Ukraine and beyond."
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) travelled to Ukraine to speak with senior government officials about providing support to ensure the safety of the war-torn country's nuclear facilities.
Director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement that the conflict is "putting Ukraine's nuclear power plants and other facilities with radioactive material in unprecedented danger".
"We must take urgent action to make sure that they can continue to operate safely and securely and reduce the risk of a nuclear accident that could have a severe health and environmental impact both in Ukraine and beyond."
Grossi will travel to one of the country's nuclear power plants as part of the visit.
The country has one of the largest nuclear power programmes in Europe with 15 reactors at four nuclear plants which generates nearly half of the country's electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Ukraine was the site of the 986 accident at Chernobyl and is considered the worst nuclear power accident to date.
"There have already been several close calls," Grossi said.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Russian forces have taken control of the site at Chernobyl and of the plant in Zaporizhzhia.
"We can’t afford to lose any more time. This conflict is already causing unimaginable human suffering and destruction. The IAEA’s expertise and capabilities are needed to prevent it from also leading to a nuclear accident,” he said.
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