• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Update 177 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts have observed no mines or explosives on the rooftops of Unit 3 and Unit 4 reactor buildings and the turbine halls at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), after having been given access yesterday afternoon, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

Following repeated requests, the team had unimpeded access to the rooftops of the two reactor units and could also clearly view the rooftops of the turbine halls. The team will continue its requests to visit the roofs of the other 4 units at ZNPP.

Director General Grossi has stressed the importance of IAEA experts being granted timely access to all areas of the ZNPP to monitor full compliance with the five basic principles for protecting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant during the current military conflict.

“I welcome the news that IAEA experts have finally been granted this additional access at the site. Timely, independent and objective reporting of facts on the ground is crucial to continue the IAEA’s efforts to support nuclear safety and security during the military conflict in the country,” Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The access to the roofs on Thursday came just after a successful ninth rotation of teams at the plant with IAEA experts once again crossing the front line as the teams departed and arrived at the plant.

On the night before the rotation the team reported hearing a series of detonations in the vicinity of the plant. The team was informed by the ZNPP that there was no impact on the site, the neighbouring industrial area or the city of Enerhodar as a result of these detonations.

Director General Grossi said this was another stark reminder of potential nuclear safety and security risks facing the facility. “I reiterate my call on all sides to refrain from any action that could lead to a nuclear accident with potential consequences for public health and the environment,” he said.   

IAEA teams have carried out additional inspections and walkdowns at the ZNPP over the past week. After a walkdown within the site’s perimeter on 1 August, the team confirmed that the mines first observed on 23 July were still in place. No new mines or explosives were observed during any walkdowns over the past week.

After Unit 5 reached cold shutdown on 28 July, maintenance activities have commenced, including inspection and testing of the safety systems which protect the reactor and its fuel; and cleaning of the heat exchanger. However, the IAEA team has repeatedly requested more complete information regarding the full scope of maintenance activities planned to be conducted on Unit 5, given the limited availability of spare parts and significantly reduced maintenance staff available at ZNPP.

The IAEA team at ZNPP are continuing to closely monitor the situation regarding the availability of water for cooling the ZNPP six reactors, and to perform other nuclear safety and security functions. Since the destruction of the dam, the ZNPP has been relying on water from the site’s cooling pond, the Zaporizhzhya Thermal Power Plant (ZTPP) discharge channel and underground water from the drainage system for its needs. The height of the water in the ZNPP cooling pond continues to reduce at a rate of about 1 cm per day while the water in the ZTPP discharge channel is periodically being topped-up with water that continues to enter the ZTPP inlet channel, primarily from groundwater. There is sufficient water available for many months.

On 2 August, the IAEA team conducted a walkdown of the cooling pond area to examine the integrity of the isolation gate separating the cooling pond from what remains of the Kakhovka reservoir after the destruction of the downstream dam in June. The team was able to observe that the isolation gate had been reinforced with concrete blocks and soil to a total thickness of up to 4 metres.

Also at the cooling pond, the team visited the location of a pilot well that has been drilled near the port and learned that initial tests of the quality of the water and the groundwater flow rate have been conducted. If the results of all additional tests are positive the ZNPP site plans to extend the diameter of the pilot well, to increase the flow rate of water into the well. Once the well is established, the plant will install pumps and piping to provide an alternate supply of water to the sprinkler ponds that provide the essential cooling to the reactor units. The team also learned that the site is planning to drill an additional well within the perimeter of the ZNPP site.

Additionally, the IAEA experts performed radiation monitoring of the cooling pond area and the areas inside the site perimeter during the walkdowns. The measurements data are uploaded by the IAEA to the IAEA’s International Radiation Monitoring Information System (IRMIS). All radiation levels were normal.

Separately this week, IAEA teams at the Khmelnitsky, Rivne, and South Ukraine NPPs and the Chornobyl site did not report any issues related to nuclear safety and security over the past week. The IAEA conducted successful rotation of its teams at Chornobyl earlier today.

Stay in touch