The group will oversee any damage from shelling which has prompted bitter recriminations and global fears of a radiation disaster, a news report claimed. Over the last few weeks, the conditions at Europe’s largest nuclear plant have been unravelling with Moscow and Kyiv trading blame for shelling in the vicinity.
A recent satellite image from private US company Maxar Technologies showed several blackened holes in the roof of a building adjacent to reactors at the plant.
On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia, 55 km (34 miles) from the plant and Ukraine’s defence ministry said it was scheduled to visit the facility on Thursday.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters in Zaporizhzhia: “It’s a mission that seeks to prevent a nuclear accident”.
Russian-installed officials have suggested that the team from the UN nuclear watchdog would have only a day to inspect the plant, while the mission is preparing for longer.
Mr Grossi said: “If we are able to establish a permanent presence, or a continued presence, then it’s going to be prolonged.
“But this first segment is going to take a few days.”
Fighting was reported near the plant and the surrounding area on Wednesday, with both sides claiming battlefield successes amid a new Ukrainian push to recapture territory in the south.
“It is a very slow process, because we value people,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, referring to the Ukrainian offensive.
He said: “There will be no quick success.”
Zaporizhzhia city authorities have been conducting emergency drills to prepare for a radiation leak.
A video released by the regional state administration on Wednesday shows workers in protective suits and breathing masks using radiation detecting devices on cars and people.
The IAEA mission to the plant is a step toward “deoccupying and demilitarising” the site, Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galushchenko, said on Wednesday, though pointing out that his government would not be able to follow up on any recommendations.