Ukraine has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about new shelling in the area of the country’s Zaporizhzya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), further underlining major nuclear safety and security risks at Europe’s largest such facility, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.
Ukraine said the latest incident – following last week’s shelling at the ZNPP – took place on Thursday afternoon and caused some damage, including of radiation monitoring equipment at the plant’s fire station. Ukraine initially also reported that a scheduled shift change had to be stopped, but it later told the IAEA that personnel rotation was back to normal. There were no casualties at the plant and its safety systems were not damaged, Ukraine added.
Based on the information provided by Ukraine, IAEA experts noted that systems important for nuclear safety and security had not been affected. Nevertheless, renewed shelling at or near the ZNPP was deeply troubling for nuclear safety and security at the six-reactor facility, Director General Grossi said, reiterating his demand that all such military activity cease.
Thursday’s shelling occurred on the same day as the IAEA Director General briefed the United Nations Security Council about the worsening nuclear safety and security situation at the ZNPP over the past week, emphasizing the urgent need for the IAEA to be able to send an expert mission to carry out essential nuclear safety, security and safeguards work there.
The IAEA has not been able to visit the ZNPP since before the conflict began almost half a year ago. Since early March, it is controlled by Russian forces, but the Ukrainian staff are continuing to operate the plant.
In relation to safeguards, the IAEA is continuing to receive remote safeguards data from the sites of the four operational nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Ukraine, and its experts have now also restored full safeguards data transfer from the Chornobyl NPP after experiencing a period of partial loss of such transmission, Director General Grossi said.
Ukraine also informed the IAEA today that ten of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors are currently connected to the grid, including two at the ZNPP, three at the Rivne NPP, three at the South Ukraine NPP, and two at the Khmelnytskyy NPP.