Vienna: Taking note of reports that mines and other explosives have been placed in and around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts present at the nuclear plant said they had so far not observed any visible indications of mines or explosives.
However, the experts have requested additional access that is necessary to confirm the absence of mines or explosives at the site, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi informed today. In particular, access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 was essential, as well as access to parts of the turbine halls and some parts of the cooling system at the plant, he added.
Grossi said the experts in recent days and weeks inspected parts of the facility – including some sections of the perimeter of the large cooling pond – and also conducted regular walk-downs across the site.
Director General Grossi stressed the importance of the IAEA team checking all parts of the ZNPP to monitor full compliance with the five basic principles for protecting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant during the current military conflict, following opposing statements and allegations in recent days regarding the military situation at the site.
“With military tension and activities increasing in the region where this major nuclear power plant is located, our experts must be able to verify the facts on the ground. Their independent and objective reporting would help clarify the current situation at the site, which is crucial at a time like this with unconfirmed allegations and counter allegations,” Director General Grossi said.
The five basic principles for the protection of the ZNPP that Director General Grossi established on May 30, 2023, at the United Nations Security Council state that there should be no attack from or against the plant and that it should not be used as storage or a base for heavy weapons – multiple rocket launchers, artillery systems and munitions, and tanks.
Grossi said that the IAEA team had not reported any recent shelling or explosions and added that the military presence at the site appeared unchanged.
Separately, the IAEA team reported that the single remaining main external 750 kilovolt (kV) power line had been reconnected to the ZNPP yesterday afternoon, around 12 hours after it was suddenly cut, leaving the plant reliant on back-up power supplies.
It may be mentioned that ZNPP, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been experiencing major off-site power problems since the conflict began in early 2022, exacerbating the nuclear safety and security risks facing the site currently located on the frontline.
– global bihari bureau