Ukraine invites IAEA inspectors to verify nuclear materials

25 October 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is sending inspectors to two locations in Ukraine to carry out a safeguards check that there are no undeclared nuclear activities and material. The checks are to take place at the request of Ukraine as it rejects allegations made by Russia.

The IAEA director general has visited Ukraine and Russia as he seeks to get agreement on a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (Image: IAEA)

Russia has alleged that it had intelligence of a Ukrainian plot to use a "dirty bomb", using radioactive material. Ukraine has rejected the accusation and invited the IAEA inspectors to visit its locations to confirm that there is no nuclear material unaccounted for.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that both the locations are under IAEA safeguards and visited regularly by inspectors and Ukraine had submitted a written request for fresh teams of inspectors to carry out verification activities.

"The IAEA inspected one of these locations one month ago and all our findings were consistent with Ukraine’s safeguards declarations. No undeclared nuclear activities or material were found there," said Grossi.

Dymtro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said he appreciated the prompt response from the IAEA to its invitation. Posting on Twitter on Tuesday morning, he said: "IAEA experts are expected to arrive shortly and prove Ukraine has neither any dirty bombs nor plans to develop them. Good cooperation with IAEA and partners allows us to foil Russia's 'dirty bomb' disinfo campaign."

Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, urging him "to do everything in his power to prevent" the use of a dirty bomb which Russia would regard "as an act of nuclear terrorism".

The Russian allegations have been rejected by Ukraine, the USA, the UK and France who have warned against Russia using the allegations as a "pretext for escalation".

The European Union’s High Representative Joseph Borrell said on Twitter: "We welcome Ukraine's decision to request the dispatch of an IAEA expert mission. The EU's support for Ukraine continues, including countering disinformation."

The latest allegation comes as the IAEA director general continues efforts to get agreement from Russia and Ukraine for the establishment of a safety and security zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The six-reactor plant, Ukraine and Europe's largest, has been under the control of the Russian military since early March. The site has been hit by shelling, and its electricity supply has been cut off for periods of time, as a result of the military conflict, with the two sides blaming the other.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News