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IAEA Director General Grossi’s Initiative to Travel to Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today announced his readiness to travel to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to secure the commitment to the safety and security of all Ukraine’s nuclear power plants from the parties of the conflict in the country.

The Director General outlined seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on 2 March, convened to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine. Today he warned that several of them had already been put at risk during events overnight at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.

The Seven Pillars are:

  1.  The physical integrity of the facilities – whether it is the reactors, fuel ponds, or radioactive waste stores – must be maintained;
  2.  All safety and security systems and equipment must be fully functional at all times;
  3. The operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure;
  4. There must be secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites;
  5. There must be uninterrupted logistical supply chains and transportation to and from the sites;
  6. There must be effective on-site and off-site radiation monitoring systems and emergency preparedness and response measures; and
  7. There must be reliable communications with the regulator and others.

The Director General said there had been no release of radiation from the Zaporizhzhya NPP as a result of a fire there that was later extinguished.

“But we cannot rely on this good fortune to continue. It is high time to stop an armed conflict from putting nuclear facilities at severe risk, potentially endangering the safety of people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond. Words must mean something - it is time for action.”

The IAEA is the international, authoritative technical nuclear agency capable of providing the adequate technical assistance to help ensure the safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities, he said.

But in these conditions, the Director General said the Agency needed a commitment from every actor so that it could provide such technical assistance in Ukraine.

“The logistics for this trip will be difficult, but not impossible. What we require is a commitment that allows us to provide this technical assistance,” he said, adding that he was consulting with others on making this come about.

Director General Grossi made clear that his proposal had nothing to do with attempting a political resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. “My responsibility is limited to the safety and security of nuclear facilities,” he said. “Let’s get to work.”


Last update: 23 Mar 2022

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