Vienna: Expressing grave concern at an increased risk of an accident or a security breach at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Mariano today stressed the need for an expert mission to the Plant, the site of which is under the control of Russian forces.
The number of indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that have been compromised at the plant is at least five out of the seven: “This is why IAEA safety and security experts must go” to the site, he told the IAEA Board of Directors.
Mariano expressed his “grave concern” at the “extremely stressful and challenging” working conditions under which Ukrainian management and staff are operating the plant. He pointed out that the transmission of safeguards information to the IAEA had now been interrupted for more than a week, and that IAEA safeguards inspectors must be able to continue to fulfil their regular, indispensable verification activities at the plant in line with Ukraine’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.
“The current situation is untenable. Every day it continues; every day that vital maintenance work is delayed; every day that supply chain interruptions cause a break in the delivery of vital equipment; every day the decision-making ability of Ukrainian staff is compromised; every day the independent work and assessments of Ukraine’s regulator are undermined; the risk of an accident or a security breach increases,” Grossi said.
He said he is actively working to agree and organize an IAEA-led international mission to the Zaporizhzhya plant to carry out essential nuclear safety, security and safeguards work at the site.
Grossi said the Ukrainian government at the highest levels has requested that the IAEA send a mission to Zaporizhzhya: “This mission is not a matter of wanting or wishing, it is an obligation on the side of Ukraine and on the side of the IAEA. The IAEA will go to Zaporizhzhya NPP under the legally binding safeguards agreement that Ukraine has with the IAEA.”
Similar missions have led to tangible results, the IAEA stated. At Chornobyl, the IAEA experts re-established the flow of safeguards information to the IAEA, took crucial measurements of radiation in the environment, assessed Ukraine’s needs and delivered a preliminary batch of equipment.
Dozens of radiation detectors are once again transmitting data from the area around the Chornobyl site after Ukraine – with technical support from the IAEA – succeeded in reviving a vital information link that was cut at the start of the conflict.
– global bihari buraeu