IAEA governors resolution on Zaporizhzhia criticised by Russia

13 March 2024

The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution calling for the immediate return of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukrainian control - however Russia says the vote "went beyond the mandate of the board and the entire agency".

(Image: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors resolution notes that the six-unit Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) has been under Russian military control for more than two years and "expresses serious concern about the unstable state of nuclear safety and security at the ZNPP, especially the lack of adequately qualified personnel at the site, gaps in planning and prevention work, the lack of reliable supply chains, the vulnerable state of water and electricity supply outside the site, as well as the installation of anti-personnel mines in the buffer zone between the internal and external perimeter of the installation".

It also supports the work of the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi "to address the nuclear safety, security, and safeguards implications of the current situation in Ukraine, including through the continued physical presence of Agency technical experts at the ZNPP and other nuclear facilities in Ukraine".

Ukraine is one of 35 countries represented on the IAEA board of governors. Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said: "The vote for this resolution demonstrates the commitment of the IAEA and the need to return safety to Europe's largest nuclear power plant."

Russia's Tass news agency quoted Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based international organizations Mikhail Ulyanov as saying the 20 members who voted for the resolution "obviously went beyond the mandate of the board and the entire agency", noting that 12 countries had abstained, while Russia and China had voted against.

On Wednesday the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement about Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, thanking IAEA Director General Grossi for his efforts to promote nuclear safety and his visits to Russia and to the plant itself, as well as the stationing of IAEA experts there.

It added: "Russia makes every possible effort to improve the reliability of security at the plant and to reinforce its nuclear and physical safety ... Russia emphasises that it views any resolutions and statements by officials and international organisations calling for the Zaporizhzhia NPP to be returned Ukraine, or placed under international control, as an infringement on Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The foreign ministry statement added that "we remain committed to improving the protection and safety" of the plant and the linked city of Energodar "to prevent Kiev" and the "collective West from compromising them".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News