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

You are here

Update 187 - IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts were today granted access to the rooftop of reactor unit 2 of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and did not observe any mines or explosives there, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

From the top of the building, the IAEA team could also observe the entire rooftop of its turbine hall as well as parts of the rooftops of the reactor buildings and turbine halls of units 1 and 3, also without seeing any mines or explosives, Director General Grossi said.

The team will continue making its long-standing request to also visit the rooftops of reactor units 1, 5 and 6 to monitor compliance with the five concrete principles for protecting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP) during the military conflict in Ukraine, which state that it should neither be attacked nor be used as a base for heavy weapons.

Today’s development comes after IAEA experts on 3 August were allowed access to the rooftops of units 3 and 4, following reports that explosives may have been placed there. Also at that time, they did not observe any mines or explosives.

“After repeated requests in recent months, we were at last able to go to one more reactor rooftop. While this is a step in the right direction, we still need more access to assess adherence to the five principles, which were presented and gained support at the United Nations Security Council. We will continue to insist until this is granted,” Director General Grossi said.

The IAEA experts also require access to all six turbine halls to be able to confirm the absence of any materials and equipment that may contravene the five principles.  This request has not yet been approved and the IAEA team can only confirm the status of one turbine hall at a time.

Highlighting the risks facing the plant during the military conflict, the IAEA team at the site has continued to hear explosions almost every day. Usually, they appear to occur some distance away from the plant, but yesterday four blasts took place closer to the site.

“Without any doubt, the nuclear safety and security situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant remains highly precarious. We will continue to do everything we can do help prevent a nuclear accident during the war in Ukraine,” Director General Grossi said.

Of the ZNPP’s six reactors, five remain in cold shutdown, while unit 4 continues to be in a state of hot shutdown to generate steam to heat water for the nearby town of Enerhodar – where most plant staff live – and to process liquid radioactive waste.

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 and allow for all the reactors to be maintained in a cold shutdown state.

The ZNPP is continuing to conduct maintenance activities on unit 6 following its transition to cold shutdown earlier this month. The IAEA experts were informed that the site performed testing on two of the unit’s steam generators due to the presence of boron in the secondary circuit, which is an indicator of a leak, albeit much smaller than that found in one of the steam generators of Unit 4, which was subsequently repaired. In unit 6, the tests performed by the ZNPP identified small water leaks in one tube of each steam generator, which have now been repaired and testing is being performed to confirm the successful repair.

The IAEA experts are also continuing to monitor the water situation at the plant following the destruction of the downstream Kakhovka dam in early June. To find alternative sources of cooling water for the reactors and spent fuel, the plant has recently completed the construction of 11 underground wells which are together supplying around 250 cubic metres per hour, which the site had estimated would be sufficient to maintain the level of all 12 sprinkler cooling ponds, which have remained steady following some issues with their levels in late September.

Over the past week, the IAEA team has conducted walkdowns across the site, including within the site perimeter, in the main control room and reactor building of unit 5 and in the reactor building of unit 6. The experts have also observed testing of the safety system of unit 2 and maintenance activities on the transformer of unit 6. During these walkdowns, the team did not observe any new mines or explosives.

As part of these activities, the IAEA experts also closely observe the performance of the operating staff as the team collects more information about the status of staffing and the training and licensing of staff at the plant under the Russian Federation’s regulations.

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

The IAEA team based at the Rivne NPP said it had completed scheduled maintenance of unit 2, including the successful loading of a new type of fuel into this reactor. After it was re-started, the reactor was today reconnected to the grid.

Over the past week, the IAEA completed its 27th and 28th deliveries of equipment and other items designed to enhance nuclear safety and security in Ukraine, providing two Starlink terminals with associated equipment to the Khmelnytskyy NPP to support reliable communications to and from the site as well as a mobile helium leak detector with accessories for tightness control to the South Ukraine NPP. The equipment was procured with funds provided by the European Union, including the European Commission.


Last update: 07 May 2024

Stay in touch