Russia is fighting back against allegations that it has failed to protect its nuclear industry from a devastating attack by the West.
The country is facing criticism that it is failing to protect the countrys nuclear power industry and that it should have been more prepared for the devastating event.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would take action to punish Russia for failing to meet its international obligations to protect Russias nuclear industry.
The agency said it was considering taking punitive measures against Russia, including possible sanctions.
It said the IAEA was “deeply concerned” by Russian allegations that the country had not complied with its obligations under a treaty it signed in 2006 with the US and the EU.
Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom said on Tuesday it was facing “unprecedented” pressure to make a financial recovery from a disaster that destroyed half the country’s industrial plants and killed up to 20,000 people.
“The situation is a bit of a nightmare,” said Alexei Miller, Rosatom’s deputy chief executive officer.
“We are going through an unprecedented period.
The worst is yet to come.”
The accident, which happened on Tuesday, was blamed on an explosion in a facility at the nuclear power plant.
The disaster killed more than 20,600 people in Russia, mostly in the worst nuclear power disaster in its history.
The government has blamed the accident on “irresponsible actions” by Rosatom.
Rosatom’s chief executive, Mikhail Kirillov, said the Russian nuclear industry was on a path to recovery.
“We are facing a crisis, a global crisis, where our system has not yet recovered from the disaster at Chernobyl,” Kirillow said.
“This is a catastrophe that we must confront.”
Russia has the third-biggest nuclear stockpile in the world after the US, and the accident at the plant was blamed in part on its lax safety rules and lack of transparency.
The explosion and its aftermath have led to a national debate over nuclear safety in Russia.
Critics say that the nuclear industry is too big and too profitable for the country to be so weak.
They say the country has failed at the very highest level to protect workers from the accident.
Rosenom said it had “zero knowledge” of the cause of the accident until after the accident was under way.
The plant had been operating without a nuclear power supply for over a decade and its workers were under “very intense and critical” safety conditions, Rosenom chief executive Nikolai Kozlov said on Wednesday.
“As a result of the serious situation at the facility, our staff and staff-members are experiencing acute respiratory and circulatory problems,” Kozlov told reporters.
Rosenergoatom, Russia’s nuclear watchdog, said in a statement that the plant had received extensive technical information about the accident but had not yet provided the necessary information to the IEA.
“At this point, it is not possible to assess the severity of the damage and the potential of recovery,” the IESC said.
Rosergoatom said it took the emergency measures necessary to ensure safety and security of the plant and its staff.
“In order to safeguard the safety of its personnel, the plant has decided to temporarily suspend operations,” Rosenergoom said.
The IAEI said it also took the unusual step of imposing an embargo on Rosenergovadzor, a company that operates two reactors in the Ural mountains.
The IAEF had previously imposed sanctions on the company for “serious and systemic” failings at the Fukushima plant.
Russia and the West have been at loggerheads over nuclear security issues in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The US and EU have imposed sanctions against Rosenergobank, the country s biggest shareholder, accusing it of failing to make proper security checks on the country.
Russia has also faced criticism that its nuclear plants are vulnerable to attack.
Its nuclear power plants are mostly located in central and western parts of the country, where the threat of a nuclear attack is higher.