Ukraine: “The situation at Zaporizhzhya NPP continues to be extremely fragile and dangerous”- IAEA

Source The United Nations


Media – Warning the Security Council that the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant “continues to be extremely fragile and dangerous”, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, listed five principles to help prevent a nuclear accident.

Briefing the Council on Tuesday (30 May), Grossi informed that “military activities continue in the region and may well increase very considerably in the near future” and “the plant has been operating on significantly reduced staff, which despite being in temporary shut-down is not sustainable.”

IAEA’s chief also noted that “there have been seven occasions when the site lost all off-site power and had to rely on emergency diesel generators, the last line of defence against a nuclear accident, to provide essential cooling of the reactor and spent fuel.”

Grossi added, “We are fortunate that a nuclear accident has not yet happened. As I said at the IAEA Board of Governors in March – we are rolling a dice and if this continues then once day our luck will run out. So we must all do everything in our power to minimize the chance that it does.”

Explaining the concrete principles to help ensure nuclear safety, he said he sees these commitments as “essential to avoid the danger of a catastrophic incident.”

First, he said, there should be no attack of any kind from or against the plant, in particular targeting the reactors, spent fuel storage, other critical infrastructure, or personnel.

Second, the plant should not be used as storage or a base for heavy or military personnel that could be used for an attack from the plant.

On top of that, off-site power to the plant should not be put at risk and all structures, systems and components essential to the safe and secure operation of should be protected from attacks or acts of sabotage.

Finally, no action should be taken that undermines these principles Grossi asked Council members to say “something very clearly”, noting that “these principles are to no one’s detriment and to everyone’s benefit.”

IAEA’s chief concluded, “Avoiding a nuclear accident IS possible. Abiding by the IAEA’s five principles is the way to start. – Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr President, distinguished colleagues:

– The IAEA’s five principles to avoid a nuclear accident are hereby established. – The IAEA intends to start monitoring these principles through its on-site mission.”

Vasily Nebenzya, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, mentioned the pillars of nuclear safety and said that his country “will continue ensuring the protection of the operation Nuclear Power Plant in such a way so as not to allow human the collective west to grossly and irresponsibly violate those pillars.”

Nebenzya added, “Russia will take the most severe measures to respond to any attacks by Ukraine against the nuclear power plant its critical infrastructure, including its power lines as well as the city of Enerhodar which is home to the personnel of the power plants and their families.”

Representing the United States, Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that all Council members “know that one country, a permanent member of this Council continues to demonstrate his flagrant disregard for these principles.”

“Since March of last year, when Russia illegally seized the Zaporizhzhya plant, the international community has held his breath each time the facility has been hit by shells, each time it has lost external power, each time Russian forces have detained essential staff,” added the ambassador.

The Permanent Representative of Ukraine, Sergiy Kyslytsya, said this country reiterates “that by illegally occupied occupying that ZNPP and making it an element of its military strategy, Russia has violated all key international principles of nuclear safety and security, and the vast majority of its obligations under international treaties.” “One could hardly consider Russia to be a reliable partner able to adhere to undertaken commitments,” concluded Kyslytsya.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, the IAEA’s chief said the “had clear expressions of support” about his plans and, as a result, the agency is “going to be reinforcing” its presence in Zaporizhzhya and will also be “looking at important elements, including these principles that refer to the plant.”

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