The Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano, reiterated this morning the need for an expert mission to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, the site of which is under the control of Russian forces.
“The current situation is untenable. Every day it continues; every day vital maintenance work is delayed; every day that supply chain disruptions interrupt the delivery of vital equipment; every day, the decision-making capacity of Ukrainian personnel is compromised; every day the independent work and assessments of the Ukrainian regulator are undermined; the risk of an accident or security breach increases,” Grossi said.
He said he was actively working to agree and organize an IAEA-led international mission to the Zaporizhzhya power plant to carry out essential nuclear safety, security and safeguards work at the site. He expressed deep concern over the extremely stressful and difficult working conditions under which Ukrainian management and staff operate the plant.
The number of indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security that have been compromised at the plant is at least five out of seven: “That is why IAEA safety and security experts must visit on the site, he said.
He stated that the IAEA safeguards inspectors must be able to continue to carry out their regular and essential verification activities at the plant, in accordance with the comprehensive safeguards agreement and the additional protocol of Ukraine, and that transmission of safeguards information to the IAEA had now been interrupted for more than a week.
Mr Grossi said that the Ukrainian government at the highest level had asked the IAEA to send a mission to Zaporizhzhya: “This mission is not a matter of will or wish, it is an obligation on the part of from Ukraine and from the IAEA The IAEA will go to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant under the legally binding safeguards agreement that Ukraine has concluded with the IAEA.
Similar missions have yielded tangible results. In Chernobyl, IAEA experts restored the flow of safeguards information to the IAEA, performed crucial environmental radiation measurements, 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 Chernobyl site after Ukraine managed to re-establish a vital information link cut at the start of the conflict.