The International Atomic Energy Agency says the situation at Europe's largest nuclear power plant is unjustifiable, urges the immediate establishment of a security protection zone.

Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi and a 14-person team were sent to the plant last week by the UN to assess the situation.
Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi and a 14-person team were sent to the plant last week by the UN to assess the situation. (Reuters Archive)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has called for the establishment of a security zone around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, occupied by Russia and the site of recent shelling.

"The current situation is untenable," the UN atomic watchdog said in a report on Tuesday after it sent a team to the plant last week.

The occupation of the nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, has sparked fears of a nuclear disaster as both sides trade blame for shelling the site.

"There is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means," the IAEA said.

"This can be achieved by the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone," it added in its report.

"The IAEA recommends that shelling on site and in its vicinity should be stopped immediately to avoid any further damages to the plant and associated facilities," it said.

READ MORE: Ukraine nuclear plant operator flags radioactive risk amid new shelling

UN assessment 

The UN agency sent a 14-person team to the site last week, including Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi, to assess the situation at the plant.

At least two members of the team were to remain there on a permanent basis to ensure the facility's safety.

Russian troops seized control of the site in early March and there have been repeated attacks in the vicinity.

Both Moscow and Kiev have denied responsibility.

The IAEA said Saturday the plant had been disconnected from its last remaining main power line to the grid and was relying on a reserve line.

READ MORE: IAEA team reaches Zaporizhzhia on a 'mission to prevent nuclear accident'

Source: AFP