VIENNA: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has announced his readiness to travel to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to secure the commitment to the safety and security of all Ukraine’s nuclear power plants "from the parties of the conflict in the country."
He warned on Friday that several of them had already been put at risk during events overnight at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.
“The logistics for this trip will be difficult, but not impossible. What we require is a commitment that allows us to provide this technical assistance,” he said, adding that he was consulting with others on making this come about.
Grossi made clear that his proposal had nothing to do with attempting a political resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
“My responsibility is limited to the safety and security of nuclear facilities,” he said. “Let’s get to work.”
“I’m extremely concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and what happened there during the night. Firing shells in the area of a nuclear power plant violates the fundamental principle that the physical integrity of nuclear facilities must be maintained and kept safe at all time,” he said.
This, after Ukraine, informed the IAEA that Russian forces had taken control of the site of the country’s Zaporizhzhia NPP, but that the nuclear power plant continued to be operated by its regular staff and there had been no release of radioactive material.
Ukrainian counterparts informed the IAEA that a projectile overnight had hit a training building in the vicinity of one of the plant’s reactor units, causing a localized fire that was later extinguished.
The safety systems of the plant’s six reactors had not been affected and there has been no release of radioactive material.
Radiation monitoring systems at the site are fully functional.
The IAEA is putting its Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) in full response mode due to the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, Grossi said. It continues to closely monitor developments at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and remains in constant contact with Ukraine. It will continue to provide regular updates on the situation.
In a recent meeting of the IAEA's Board of Governors convened to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine, he outlined seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security.