IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

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Vienna, Austria August 9, 2022

Ukraine has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that a shelling incident on Saturday near the dry spent fuel storage facility at the country’s Zaporizhzya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) caused some damage, but that available radiation measurements continued to show normal levels at the site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on 9 August.

According to Ukraine, Saturday’s event – which occurred a day after previous shelling damaged the plant’s external power supply system – injured a Ukrainian security guard at the ZNPP. It also damaged walls, a roof and windows in the area of the spent fuel storage facility, as well as communication cables that are part of its radiation control system, with a possible impact on the functioning of three radiation detection sensors, Ukraine told the IAEA. But there was no visible damage to the containers with spent nuclear fuel or to the protective perimeter of the facility.

Based on the information provided by Ukraine, IAEA experts assessed that there was no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of Saturday’s incident, Director General Grossi said.

However, the shelling on Friday and Saturday at the ZNPP breached virtually all the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that the Director General outlined at the beginning of the conflict, including those related to a nuclear power plant’s physical integrity, functioning safety and security systems, staff and external power supplies.

Saturday evening’s incident showed how the conflict had also compromised nuclear safety and security pillars related to Emergency Preparedness and Response arrangements as well as communications, Director General Grossi said. Ukraine informed the IAEA after the incident that plant staff had restricted access to the ZNPP’s on-site crisis centre, potentially impacting response activities in case of an emergency even if access to an off-site centre remained possible. In addition, the Ukrainian regulator said its communications with ZNPP were “very limited and fragmentary”.

The Ukrainian regulator also informed the Agency that the plant continues to have limited availability of off-site power.

Director General Grossi reiterated his grave concern about the situation at the ZNPP and that any military action jeopardizing nuclear safety and security must stop. He again stressed the need for an IAEA expert mission to go to the plant as soon as possible to help stabilise the nuclear safety and security situation.

The IAEA has not been able to visit the Russian-occupied facility in Ukraine’s south since before the conflict began more than five months ago.

The IAEA is in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities and continues to monitor the nuclear safety and security situation, he said.

 

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