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Update 236 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed by the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) that several drones struck locations in the vicinity of the site today, injuring workers and causing forest fires. These repeated drone attacks are a threat to nuclear safety and people’s lives and must stop, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The IAEA experts stationed at the ZNPP said they saw thick smoke and heard explosions coming from near the plant’s 750 kilovolt (kV) switchyard after they were told that drones had hit an adjacent forest, starting fires in windy conditions. Firefighters were working to control the flames. The switchyard is located outside the ZNPP site itself. For now, the IAEA experts do not report any impact on-site.

This latest incident presents a further risk to nuclear safety as the ZNPP’s sole remaining 750 kV power line supplies the off-site electricity the plant needs to cool its six reactors in cold shutdown and for other essential nuclear safety and security functions. At present, the 750kV power line as well as a back-up 330 kV line are still available, but the situation remains precarious.

Near the town of Enerhodar three drone strikes, starting at 10:40am local time, hit one of its electrical sub-stations, injuring eight workers, one of whom required medical care, the ZNPP said. The IAEA experts were informed that the alleged impact also caused an oil leak from at least one of the two sub-station transformers, damaged the top of one of them as well as a connection line.

As a result, the affected sub-station – Raduga – is currently out of service, but Enerhodar and an adjacent industrial area are still receiving electricity. Sub-stations form vital parts of an electrical production, transmission and distribution system.

Today’s reported drone attacks came less than two weeks after Enerhodar – home to most ZNPP staff – was left without electricity for 16 hours after reported drone strikes on the Raduga and Luch sub-stations. In early April, drone strikes also hit the ZNPP site, in a violation of the five basic principles for protecting the facility established by Director General Grossi at the United Nations Security Council in May 2023.

“It is extremely concerning that these drone attacks are continuing, despite the very clear dangers they present to people in Enerhodar as well as to safety at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. They must stop, immediately,” Director General Grossi said.

Also before today’s reported drone strikes, the IAEA team continued to hear military activities on most days over the past week, including explosions at various distances from the site, as well as gunfire and two blasts near the plant on 30 June.

The IAEA experts continued to conduct walkdowns across the site as part of their regular monitoring of nuclear safety and security at Europe’s largest NPP, including to reactor unit 4, the site’s metrology laboratory, the two fresh fuel storage facilities, several emergency diesel generators, different parts of the reactor safety systems, as well as the ZNPP’s department of non-destructive testing. The team’s walkdown of the plant’s waterworks facilities, however, was cut short by an air raid alarm.

The IAEA experts present at the Khelmnytskyy, Rivne and South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) and the Chornobyl site reported that nuclear safety and security are being maintained despite the effects of the ongoing conflict, including air raid alarms on several days over the past week.

The IAEA experts at the South Ukraine and Rivne NPPs rotated at the end of last week. Planned maintenance and refuelling activities continued at two of the three units at the South Ukraine NPP and one of the four units at the Rivne NPP.






Last update: 03 Jul 2024

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