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Update 149 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

A long-delayed rotation of International Atomic Energy Agency experts was carried out at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) today, ending an impasse that had complicated the IAEA’s efforts to support nuclear safety and security during the military conflict in the country, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The new team of IAEA staff arrived at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP) after crossing the frontline, allowing the three experts who had been at the site in southern Ukraine since early January to finally begin their journey back to IAEA headquarters, a month later than initially planned.

Director General Grossi said today’s successful rotation was of major importance for the future of the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ), which has been conducting vital nuclear safety and security activities since it was established six months ago. The team that arrived today is the sixth since ISAMZ was established by the Director General on 1 September last year.

“The permanent presence of ISAMZ at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is indispensable to help reduce the risk of a nuclear accident during this already so devastating war. Our courageous experts – working closely with the plant’s operating staff – are providing technical advice and monitoring the situation in extremely difficult and challenging circumstances. I’m deeply grateful for all the important work they are doing and for their professionalism and commitment to nuclear safety and security. The team leaving today has stayed several weeks longer than expected, and the new team has been waiting in Ukraine for a number of weeks and is committed to fulfilling its original mission,” he said.

“We should also not forget the Agency staff at all the other NPPs in Ukraine who, while not close to the frontline, are still in a country at war and sometimes having to take shelter along with plant staff following numerous alerts,” he added, noting that rotations of IAEA teams were also taking place elsewhere in the country this week.   

Director General Grossi also thanked all parties involved for their constructive efforts to end the rotation deadlock at the ZNPP, which followed an increase in military activity in the region.

The precarious nuclear safety and security situation was highlighted again yesterday, when the ZNPP’s only remaining 330 kilovolt (kV) back-up power line was disconnected for a third time in less than a week, likely because of shelling on the other side of the Dnipro river, the ISAMZ team reported.

Director General Grossi reiterated his determination to help protect the plant by agreeing and implementing a nuclear safety and security protection zone there, saying he was continuing his consultations with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation to achieve this important objective.

Separately, IAEA expert teams are also rotating at three other nuclear facilities in Ukraine this week, where the Agency established a continued presence in January: the Rivne, South Ukraine and Khmelnitsky NPPs, Director General Grossi said.



Last update: 07 May 2024

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