Ukraine: IAEA "wants" to send a mission to inspect Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Grossi said that the IAEA is continuing to receive remote safeguards data from the sites of the four operational NPPs in Ukraine, as well as from the Chornobyl NPP.

Published: 25th August 2022 05:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2022 05:35 PM   |  A+A-

Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant in Ukraine

A Russian serviceman on patrol near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (Photo | AFP)

By Online Desk

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "wants" to send a mission to inspect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in southern Ukraine following the international community's concern about the situation there in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

In an exclusive interview with France 24, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of IAEA expressed hope that the visit would take place "within days."

Asked if talks on gaining access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility had succeeded, Grossi told the French state-owned television network, "we are very, very close to that" while cautioning that the operation was "extremely complex". Pressed on a timeline, the IAEA chief said he hoped the mission would take place within "days".

Faced with the risk of a nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia, "we need to go there, we need to stabilize the situation, we need to ensure a presence of the IAEA soon," he stressed.

Earlier, Ukraine informed IAEA that renewed shelling in recent days caused additional damage in the area of the country’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, once again highlighting the serious nuclear safety and security risks facing the facility and underlining the urgent need for an IAEA expert mission to go there.

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According to a statement issued by IAEA on August 23, Ukraine informed the agency that the shelling on Saturday (20 August) and Sunday (21 August) damaged ZNPP infrastructure including laboratory and chemical facilities, the Director General said. In addition, Ukraine said shelling on Monday (22 August) damaged the transformers of the nearby thermal power plant, causing a disconnection of the power line linking this plant to the ZNPP lasting several hours before it was restored later the same day.

“These incidents show why the IAEA must be able to send a mission to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant very soon. I’m continuing to consult very actively and intensively with all parties so that this vital IAEA mission can take place without further delay. The IAEA’s presence will help stabilise the nuclear safety and security situation at the site and reduce the risk of a severe nuclear accident in Europe. The mission is expected to take place within the next few days if ongoing negotiations succeed,” Director General Grossi said.

In addition to the now restored backup line to the thermal power plant, the ZNPP has one operational power line connecting it to the grid out of a total of four such lines. A secure off-site power supply from the grid is essential for ensuring nuclear safety. This requirement is among the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that the Director General outlined at the beginning of the conflict.

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Ukraine separately informed the IAEA that ten of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors are currently connected to the grid, including two at the ZNPP, three at the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), three at the South Ukraine NPP, and two at the Khmelnytskyy NPP.

In relation to safeguards, Director General Grossi said the IAEA is continuing to receive remote safeguards data from the sites of the four operational NPPs in Ukraine, as well as from the Chornobyl NPP.


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