UN nuclear inspectors set for Zaporizhzhia trip

STORY: The U.N. nuclear watchdog will inspect the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine this week.

The IAEA has been requesting access, amid increased military activity and rising safety fears around what is Europe's largest nuclear plant.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi announced the mission on Twitter on Monday.

"We must protect the safety and security of Ukraine's and Europe's biggest nuclear facility," he said.

Inspectors will assess damage around the facility from recent shelling and fires, which Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other.

Neither Grossi nor the IAEA specified when they'd arrive at Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine's energy ministry said it would not comment on the trip "for security reasons."

Ukrainian staff are continuing to operate the facility in southeastern Ukraine under the orders of Russian forces.

On Friday two of its six reactors were reconnected to the grid following shelling that caused the nuclear plant to be disconnected a day earlier - for the first time in its history.

The United Nations and Kyiv have called for a withdrawal of military equipment and personnel to ensure the Zaporizhzhia plant is not a target in the conflict.

The IAEA tweeted separately that the mission would assess physical damage, evaluate conditions for staff and "determine the functionality of safety & security systems."