Update 73 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, today met with the head of Ukraine’s regulatory body, Oleh Korikov, to discuss the Agency’s efforts to help ensure the safety and security of the country’s nuclear facilities during the current conflict.

In their meeting at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna, Director General Grossi and Korikov, Chair of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU), also spoke about the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in southern Ukraine.

The Director General said the IAEA is “ready to fulfil its indispensable role” related to nuclear safety and security at the NPP, which is Ukraine’s biggest with six reactors. Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhya NPP two months ago, but its Ukrainian personnel are continuing to operate the plant. Ukraine last week informed the IAEA that they were “working under unbelievable pressure”.

Thursday’s meeting came a day after Director General Grossi “stressed the urgency of ensuring the safety” of the Zaporizhzhya NPP in a meeting with Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, and other senior Russian officials in Istanbul.

In his summary report on nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine that was issued on 28 April, Director General Grossi said the situation at the Zaporizhzhya NPP “continues to be challenging and requires continued attention owing to the presence of Russian forces and Rosatom personnel at the site while operational management remains with Ukrainian plant operators”.

The report added that “the Director General has proposed to lead a visit to the Zaporizhzhya NPP after the necessary consultations and at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Ukraine separately informed the IAEA today that there had been no significant developments related to nuclear safety and security in the country over the past 24 hours.

Regarding the country’s 15 operational reactors at four NPPs, Ukraine said seven are currently connected to the grid, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, two at the Rivne NPP, two at the South Ukraine NPP, and one at the Khmelnytskyy NPP. The eight other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve. Safety systems remain operational at the four NPPs, and they also continue to have off-site power available, Ukraine said.

In relation to safeguards, following last week’s visit of IAEA inspectors and technicians to the Chornobyl NPP, data from all unattended monitoring systems installed at the site has now been fully recovered. Also, as a result of the deployment of new transmission channels based on satellite technologies, the remote transfer of the safeguards data to the Agency’s Vienna headquarters has been fully restored with the exception of one facility for which technical work is still required. The transmission from the Chornobyl NPP had been interrupted for two months. For the other NPPs in Ukraine, remote data continues to be transferred to the IAEA.

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