IAEA's Grossi visits Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

07 February 2024

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has travelled across the military frontline to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for a fourth time.

(Image: Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant)

The director general arrived at the plant on Wednesday alongside the four International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who will be the 16th rotation of experts to be stationed at the plant.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has six units and is Ukraine and Europe's largest, has been under Russian military control since early March 2022 and is located very close to the frontline of Russian and Ukrainian forces. During his visit, Grossi was briefed on the current state of the plant by director Yuri Chernichuk.

(Image: ZNPP)

According to the Russian operators of the plant "Chernichuk noted that the station has enough qualified personnel to ensure safe operation of the station", as well as outlining steps taken, such as the drilling of 11 new wells to ensure a sustainable water supply following the damage to the Kakhovka reservoir last June. During his walk around the site, Grossi inspected some of the new wells.

(Image: IAEA)

Speaking as he prepared to leave the plant, Grossi said it had been an "important visit where, we were able to look into important aspects related to the safety and the security situation at the plant at this moment".

He said that the "physical integrity of the plant has been relatively stable - there have been less episodes of direct attacks or shelling around it, which is a positive development, although we take it with enormous caution, we have always indicated that this is an ongoing effort".

Ahead of the visit, including during talks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, Grossi had raised concerns about staffing at the plant - not just the stress that people are working under, but also the decline in licensed workers, and the decision to exclude any existing staff who had refused to sign a new work contract with the Russian operating company.

Grossi said: "The issues related to the staff and the necessity to ensure sufficient availability of licensed and, authorised staff, has also been part of the discussions we've had here at Zaporizhzhia."

(Image: IAEA)

He added that the visit "confirms the importance, the indispensable activity that the IAEA is displaying here and our commitment to continue, because, until the conflict ends without a nuclear accident with radiological consequences, we will not be able to say that our job is complete".

Grossi is expected to travel to Moscow for more talks relating to safety and security issues at the plant in the next two weeks.

During their meeting on Tuesday, President Zelensky emphasised that his view was that the only way to prevent a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was its full demilitarisation, de-occupation and restoration of control over the plant by Ukraine.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News