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Update 105 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Renewed shelling early on Wednesday morning at the site of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) damaged cables providing electricity to one of its six units, temporarily forcing this reactor to rely on emergency diesel generators for the power it needs for essential safety functions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed at the site by senior Ukrainian operating staff.

Two of the three emergency diesel generators of reactor unit 6 started automatically and operated for about 40 minutes following the shelling that occurred at 01:13am local time near the unit’s turbine hall which is next to the reactor building. They were no longer needed after the operator was again able to access external electricity for unit 6 from the ZNPP’s existing main power line, through the switchyard of the nearby thermal power station.

The ZNPP’s five other reactors were not affected, continuing to receive power directly from the plant’s off-site power line that was restored last week. Work is under way to repair the damaged cables of unit 6, as are efforts to restore this unit’s direct connection to the ZNPP’s external power line. The ZNPP’s six reactors are all in a cold shutdown state but still require power for maintaining cooling and other vital safety functions.

Director General Rafael Grossi – who is at the United Nations in New York this week for high-level consultations regarding his proposal to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the ZNPP – said he was gravely concerned about the latest shelling at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

He stressed the importance of the IAEA being at the site to observe and report about such incidents in an impartial and independent manner.  In this context, the Director General reiterated that the IAEA team present at the site for the past three weeks were able to transmit information directly to Agency headquarters in Vienna and conduct their activities without any impediment, restriction or interruption.

Wednesday’s incident came after another shelling episode the previous day, at one of the ZNPP site’s spray cooling ponds, which are part of the plant’s heat removal system. The pipe was damaged, taking the pond out of service pending repairs. There were also reports of shelling yesterday at the industrial site around the thermal power station, located a few kilometres from the ZNPP.

“This once again demonstrates the urgent necessity to establish such a zone around the ZNPP. Until yesterday, there seemed to be less shelling at or near the plant, but this latest episode shows that the danger remains very real. It hasn’t gone away, and we can’t afford to lose any more time,” Director General Grossi said. “I’m determined to do everything I can so that the nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) becomes reality very soon. My high-level meetings at the United Nations this week are crucial to achieve this objective that is of paramount importance in preventing a severe nuclear accident from happening.”


Last update: 07 May 2024

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