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Update 21 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 20:40 CET

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that efforts were continuing to resume external electricity supplies to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), a day after Ukrainian specialist teams repaired one of two damaged power lines connecting the site to the grid, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Diesel generators have been providing back-up electricity to the site of the 1986 accident since it lost all off-site power on 9 March. Ukraine said on 13 March that its specialists had fixed one of the power lines and that the NPP would be reconnected to the Ukrainian electricity network the following morning.

However, Ukraine’s transmission system operator, Ukrenergo, earlier today said the line had again been damaged “by the occupying forces” before power had been fully restored to the NPP. Later in the day, the regulatory authority told the IAEA that at 13:10 CET external power had again been restored and that staff at the Chornobyl NPP had restarted operations to reconnect the NPP to the grid.

As previously reported, the Chornobyl NPP’s disconnection from the grid last week did not have a critical impact on essential safety functions as the volume of cooling water in its spent fuel storage facility was sufficient to maintain heat removal without a supply of electricity. The regulator also last week said a safety analysis report for the spent fuel facility had concluded that there would be “no impact on essential safety systems” in the case of a total loss of power, also from diesel generators. The regulator said the current diesel reserves would last until the evening of 15 March.

The power supply issues underline the urgency of agreeing and implementing a framework proposed by the IAEA to ensure the safety and security of all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including also four operating nuclear power plants, Director General Grossi said.

On the status of Ukraine’s operational nuclear power plants, the regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors remained operating, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytskyy, and two at South Ukraine. The radiation levels at all NPPs are in the normal range, it said.

The IAEA is aware of reports that Russian forces have carried out munition explosions at the site of the Zaporizhzhya NPP, and it is seeking information about the situation from Ukraine. The regulator had previously informed the Agency about ongoing work to detect and dispose of unexploded munitions found at the damaged training centre and elsewhere at the NPP following events on 4 March, when Russian forces took control of the site.

In relation to safeguards, the Agency said that the situation remained unchanged from that reported on 13 March. The Agency was still not receiving remote data transmission from its monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP, but such data was being transferred to IAEA headquarters from the other NPPs in Ukraine.


Last update: 07 May 2024

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