IAEA plans visit to Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant despite Russian occupation and opposition from Kyiv – Vindobona.org

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is actively preparing an expert visit to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, occupied by Russian troops. The IAEA confirmed this in a press release today.

As Vindobona.org reports, Zaporizhzhya is home to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The Russian army had taken control of the nuclear power plant shortly after its invasion of Ukraine in early March.

Russian occupation and Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is located on territory occupied by the Russian army.

Russian war maneuvers and tactics disrupt the routine and nuclear security of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the situation at the nuclear power plant was untenable. For example, he said, major maintenance work at the nuclear power plant was constantly postponed and essential equipment was not delivered, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

Five of the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security were compromised at the plant. “That’s why IAEA experts have to go there,” Grossi said.

In his view, IAEA safeguards inspectors should be able to continue to carry out their regular and essential verification tasks at the plant, in accordance with Ukraine’s comprehensive safeguards agreement and additional protocol.

Even the transmission of safeguards information to the IAEA has now been interrupted for over a week. The nuclear safety of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is threatened.

The Director-General described how military action compromised the security of radiation sources, destroyed the infrastructure of the Ukrainian neutron source and other nuclear facilities, damaged waste repositories and threatened collateral damage at nuclear power plants and had a negative impact on the Zaporizhzhya power plants and their staff.

The IAEA is therefore preparing a mission to ensure nuclear safety and remedy the maintenance crew.

The same problems occurred in Chernobyl during the Russian occupation in March.

Kyiv’s Opposition

The Ukrainian government had recently refused the visit of IAEA representatives to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant as long as it was occupied by Russian troops.

Kyiv fears Russian legitimization if an international organization visits Russian-occupied territory.

According to ORFthe head of the IAEA had already written on the online service Twitter on Monday that his agency was currently preparing an expert visit to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

According ReutersEnergoatom of Ukraine, Ukraine’s atomic energy agency, later said on Thursday that Ukraine “did not invite Grossi to visit the Zaporizhzhya power station and refused to allow him to make such a visit in the past”.

According ORF, Energoatom argued that a visit by IAEA experts could “legitimize the presence of the occupiers”. Energoatom stressed that such a visit would only be possible when Ukraine regains control of the plant.

However, the IAEA noted that it will work closely with Ukraine to ensure that Ukrainian nuclear facilities are kept as safe and secure as possible and that they will continue to apply nuclear safeguards.

The IAEA persists

Grossi commented, “It’s not about wanting or desiring this mission, it’s a commitment on the part of Ukraine and the IAEA.”

Grossi and the IAEA have repeatedly expressed concern about the extremely stressful working conditions of Ukrainian personnel at the nuclear power plant. The IAEA repeatedly reiterates the need to send IAEA experts on site.

Director-General Grossi underlined: “Even in the midst of this unstable and unprecedented situation, we have managed, together with Ukraine and with the generous support of many Member States, to develop and begin to implement the comprehensive program of assistance that will help maintain the seven inalienable pillars of nuclear safety and security in the midst of the first military conflict to take place around the facilities of a major nuclear energy program. »

The IAEA and Mr. Grossi condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine and have repeatedly stated that the country’s nuclear security must not be compromised.

The Director General calls for an end to the war and says: “The best measure to ensure the safety and security of the nuclear facilities of Ukraine and its people would be for this armed conflict to end now.

international atomic energy agency

Energoatom

Michael A. Bynum