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Update 136 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal have agreed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will establish a continuous presence of nuclear safety and security experts at all of the country’s nuclear power plants as part of stepped-up efforts to help prevent a nuclear accident during the current armed conflict.

During a two-hour meeting in Paris that ended early on Tuesday morning, Director General Grossi said he and Prime Minister Shmyhal also made progress in ongoing discussions about setting up a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), where the IAEA deployed a permanent expert mission more than three months ago. Ukraine’s Energy Minister, Herman Haluschenko, also participated in the meeting.

“While we are not yet there and more work is required, I’m increasingly optimistic that such a zone – which is of paramount importance – will be agreed and implemented in the near future,” Director General Grossi said after the talks. “I will continue my high-level consultations in the coming days – both with Ukraine and Russia – with the clear aim to get this done as soon as possible. We can’t afford to lose more time.”

The IAEA Director General was in Paris to attend an international conference on Ukraine – “Solidaires du peuple ukrainien” – hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been actively supporting Director General Grossi’s efforts in Ukraine.

At the request of Ukraine, the IAEA has over the past month dispatched week-long nuclear safety and security missions to the three other operational nuclear power plants in Ukraine – Khmelnytskyy, Rivne and South Ukraine – as well as to Chornobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear accident.

As agreed by Director General Grossi and Prime Minister Shmyhal during their meeting in Paris, the IAEA will press ahead with plans to establish a continued Agency presence at the four sites.

“Our mission at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant has shown the vital importance of the IAEA being there to monitor the situation and give technical advice. Thanks to this presence, the IAEA is providing the world with impartial, technical and factual information about developments on the ground,” Director General Grossi said.

“We have now agreed with the Government of Ukraine to further expand and strengthen the IAEA’s nuclear safety and security role in the country. This is especially important at a time when Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the war and in the middle of the winter,” he said.

In a new development underlining such difficulties, the IAEA team at the ZNPP today reported that the plant had lost its connection to the 330 kilovolt (kV) back-up power line to the electricity grid. It was not immediately clear what had caused the disconnection. The ZNPP – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – continues to receive the electricity it needs for essential safety and security functions from a 750 kV main external power line.

The IAEA team at the ZNPP today was informed that work continues at the plant for the testing and setting in operation of mobile diesel-fuelled boilers which are intended to prevent the critical ZNPP systems from freezing during the winter, including heating of working environment for the ZNPP personnel.  Mobile diesel-fuelled boilers with power in the range of 1-3 MW were installed and are currently in operation at one of the Units, with several more being deployed at other locations on the site.

ZNPP has 20 fixed emergency diesel generators in stand-by mode and ready to provide electricity if all off-site electrical power is not available. However, to increase the ability to cope with such loss of off-site power, mobile diesel generators are currently being deployed as well, as a precautionary measure. Two such mobile generators are already connected to one Unit and are in stand-by mode. A few other mobile generators are to be tested and will be connected to other reactor Units.


Last update: 07 May 2024

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