There is a “clear and present risk to the safety, security and safeguards” at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is currently controlled by Russia, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said Monday.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that “at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security have been compromised at the site.”
In remarks to the IAEA’s Board of Governors, Grossi reiterated that he was “working actively to agree, organize and head an IAEA-led International Mission” to the facility, in order to “carry out essential nuclear safety, security and safeguards work at the site.”
Some background: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since early March. Grossi visited the now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant north of Kyiv, which was briefly occupied by Russian forces, at the end of April.
“Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia NPP site remains under the control of the Russian forces there. I have repeatedly expressed my grave concern at the extremely stressful and challenging working conditions under which Ukrainian management and staff are operating the plant," Grossi said.
“The situation at Zaporizhzhia NPP has not only raised serious and pressing humanitarian concerns but is also a clear and present risk to the safety, security and safeguards at the nuclear power plant.”
“There are indications from Ukraine regarding their concern about interruptions in the supply chain of spare parts to Zaporizhzhia NPP. This means now at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security have been compromised at the site. The Ukrainian regulator has informed us that they have ‘lost control over’ the facility’s nuclear material that is subject to the Safeguards Agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA," he added.
He concluded by saying that “the urgent need for us to be there is clear to all.”