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IAEA Director General in Ukraine: "No Place for Complacency" with Zaporizhzhya

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security Lydie Evrard (R-L) in Kyiv, before travelling to visit the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo: IAEA)

The IAEA Director General and his team of experts were in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy, before travelling south to visit Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. 

Rafael Mariano Grossi informed the president of the main goals of the mission, which will be to assess the status of current power and cooling systems essential for the safety of the plant, and the levels of qualified staff, among others.

“There is absolutely no place for complacency or to believe that everything is stabilised there. Far from it,” said Mr Grossi before the meeting. 

This will be the fourth time the Director General crosses the frontline of the war to visit the power plant, whose six reactors have all been in shutdown for nearly eighteen months but still hold large amounts of nuclear fuel that must be kept adequately cooled. 

In a brief press conference before heading south, Mr Grossi said he was feeling “quite positive” about the visit tomorrow. 

Earlier in the day Mr Grossi and team met with Energy Minister German Galushchenko, nuclear regulator Oleh Korikov, and the head of Ukraine's state-run nuclear energy firm Energoatom, Petro Kotin.

The latest IAEA update on the situation in Ukraine reported on a new announcement from the occupied plant, stating that no workers employed by Ukraine’s national operator Energoatom would be allowed to remain working at the site any longer. 

Mr Grossi told reports in Kyiv: “We have expressed for quite a long time a general concern about the levels of the work force at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. This last announcement by the administration of the plant adds to that concern and one of my main points of interest for my visit that starts tomorrow morning will be to enquire precisely about this. One of the most important things for me is to assess the operational impact of this decision.” 

Mr Grossi also referred to his impending visit to Moscow next week where he aims to “have a high-level discussion about the future prospectives for the plant”. 

“The fate of the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe and the consequences of a problem there exceed a merely technical aspect. These are issues of a global concern for international peace and security. So this is why for me, beyond the technical aspects, it is also important to have a conversation on the fundamental implications of what is happening there – now and in the future.” 

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