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Update 143 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi informed President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv yesterday about the expanding and intensifying activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency to help Ukraine ensure nuclear safety and security at its nuclear facilities during the military conflict, with several permanent IAEA expert missions established across the country this week.

They also continued their discussions on a proposal by Director General Grossi to set up a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).  Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP) has repeatedly come under fire in recent months, triggering deepening nuclear safety and security concerns.

The Director General stressed that the zone is essential for preventing a severe nuclear accident and said he would press ahead with his efforts to make it happen as soon as possible.

“Everybody agrees that the plant – located on the frontline in an active combat area – needs to be protected, but these are very complex negotiations. I will not stop until the much-needed zone is a reality. I will continue my intensive consultations with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation in the coming days and weeks,” he said.

“This major nuclear power plant continues to face daily dangers. Our team there continues to hear explosions close to the site, including two on Thursday,” he added.

In Kyiv, the Director General also met with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, with whom he had agreed in December to establish permanent IAEA nuclear safety and security expert teams at all of Ukraine’s NPPs and the Chornobyl site.

That plan was implemented this week with IAEA flag-raising ceremonies attended by Director General Grossi at the South Ukraine and Rivne NPPs, and the Chornobyl site. Two IAEA experts are now continuously staying at each of these three facilities to provide technical support and assistance, assess the plants’ equipment and other needs and report about the situation to IAEA headquarters and the world.

“Across Ukraine – from north to south – this week has seen a major expansion in the IAEA’s on-the-ground support for the country’s efforts to prevent a severe nuclear accident during the war. At Ukraine’s request, the IAEA flag is now flying at these important nuclear facilities. For the first time, we will have our top experts permanently present at all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as well as the Chornobyl site. Their vital work will help reduce the very real nuclear dangers the country is facing,” Director General Grossi said.

In the next few days, an IAEA expert team will also be stationed at the Khmelnitsky NPP. The IAEA has been present at the ZNPP since September 1.

With IAEA teams permanently present at all of Ukraine’s NPPs and the Chornobyl site, the Agency will have at least 11 nuclear safety and security experts simultaneously in the country, an unprecedented undertaking by the organization.

“We are determined to do everything in our power to reduce the risk of a nuclear catastrophe during this tragic war. This week was an important step forward in our efforts in this regard. But the work is far from over. The IAEA is here to stay, for as long as we are needed,” Director General Grossi said.


Last update: 07 May 2024

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