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Director General Statement to the Board of Governors - 9 March 2023

Vienna, Austria

Before we start this agenda item I want to report that this morning at around 5am local time Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant lost all off-site power when its last remaining 750 kilovolt line was disconnected, its only remaining back up 330 kilovolt line having been damaged a few days ago and under repair.

As a result all 20 of the site’s emergency diesels generators were activated. The site’s essential power is now being provided by eight of those diesels with the rest now in standby mode. And there is enough diesel on site for 15 days of operation. The two out of six units that were in hot shutdown are moving to cold shutdown.

This is the first time the site has lost all power since 23 November 2022 and follows reports of missile strikes across Ukraine overnight.

Our ISAM teams on all the other NPPs in Ukraine have reported back to us this morning. At South Ukraine NPP there are reported losses of power lines but there are sufficient remaining available to provide off-site power if required. The other operating NPPs Khmelnytskyy and Rivne NPPs have not been directly affected though the plants have been managing power levels in accordance with grid requirements. Similarly, there are no reports of Chornobyl NPP being affected.

However, yet again Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is running on emergency diesels – the last line of defence. This is the sixth time – let me say it again SIXTH time - that ZNPP has lost all off-site power and has had to operate in this emergency mode. Let me remind you – this is the largest nuclear power station in Europe. What are we doing? How can we sit here in this room this morning and allow this to happen? This cannot go on.

I am astonished by the complacency – what are we doing to prevent this happening? We are the IAEA, we are meant to care about nuclear safety.

Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.

I call on everyone in this room today and elsewhere – We must commit to protect the safety and security of the plant. And we need to commit NOW.

What we need is Action.

I will continue my urgent consultations and contacts.

Last update: 09 Mar 2023

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