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Update 186 - IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) is now once again using reactor unit 4 to generate steam for various safety functions at the facility after the repair of a water leak detected in mid-August, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

After completing the transition of unit 4 to hot from cold shutdown last Saturday, the ZNPP placed reactor unit 6 – which had temporarily been producing such steam during the repair work – in cold shutdown, which was reached yesterday morning.

As previously reported, Ukraine’s national regulator, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU), has issued regulatory orders to limit the operation of all six units of the ZNPP to a cold shutdown state. In addition, the IAEA has been strongly encouraging the ZNPP to find an alternative source of steam generation to cover the plant’s needs, including for processing liquid radioactive waste, and allow for all the reactors to be maintained in a cold shutdown state.

After it reached cold shutdown, the ZNPP began maintenance activities of unit 6, starting with its unit transformer and one of its safety trains in order to clean the heat exchangers. The ZNPP reactors each have three separate and independent redundant systems – known as safety trains –  comprising the units’ safety systems, which are normally in stand-by mode ready to activate if needed to maintain safety.

Separately, a new team of IAEA experts arrived at the ZNPP on Tuesday to replace their colleagues who have been there for the past several weeks, the twelfth such mission since Director General Grossi on 1 September last year established a permanent Agency presence at the site to help prevent a nuclear accident during the conflict in Ukraine.

“Once again, our experts have crossed the frontline to help ensure nuclear safety and security at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant which is caught up in the middle of the war. We should all be grateful for their determination to do everything they can to achieve this important task. Their presence is necessary to monitor the situation at the site and to provide impartial and timely information to the international community,” Director General Grossi said.

In a significant development for the IAEA’s mission at the site, Director General Grossi said the Agency had taken delivery of armoured vehicles acquired with extra-budgetary support from Japan. In addition, funding from Germany has enabled the IAEA to hire drivers and security personnel for these rotations.  

“These vehicles and dedicated personnel are essential for ensuring the safety of IAEA staff during rotations to and from the plant. They will also allow us to conduct our missions with full logistical independence,” Director General Grossi said. 

The new IAEA team continues to request access to all six turbine halls on the same day, one after the other, to be able to confirm the absence of any materials and equipment that may contravene the five concrete principles for the protection of the ZNPP.  This request has not yet been approved and the team can only confirm the status of one turbine hall at a time.

The IAEA experts are also continuing to request access to the rooftops of reactor buildings 1, 2, 5 and 6, which they had expected to be granted this week.

“We will insist until we get the access we need in order to monitor compliance with the five concrete principles for the protection of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant,” Director General Grossi said.

IAEA teams at Ukraine’s three other Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) and the Chornobyl site report safe and secure operations of these nuclear facilities despite the continuation of the armed conflict.

The IAEA on Monday completed its 26th delivery of equipment and other items designed to enhance nuclear safety and security in Ukraine, providing the Rivne NPP with equipment for measuring the dissolved hydrogen concentration in primary water samples at the plant. The equipment was procured using Japanese extrabudgetary contribution.



Last update: 07 May 2024

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