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Update 25 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

Vienna, Austria, posted at 18:02 CET

Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that Ukrainian engineers were repairing one of three disconnected power lines linking the country’s largest nuclear power plant to the electricity grid and expected it to be working again early next week, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has four high voltage (750 kV) external power lines plus one on standby. Two of the four were damaged earlier, and the plant this week lost connection to a third line, which the Ukrainian regulator today said was expected to be reconnected to the plant on 22 March.

With the two off-site power lines that are currently available, including the one on standby, all safety systems at the NPP remain fully functional and there are no safety concerns, the regulator said. It was not known when the two other non-functioning lines could be reconnected, it added.

On 4 March, Russian forces took control of the NPP. Of its six reactors, two are operating. These two units reduced power generation to 500 Megawatts (MWe) each after a break yesterday in an on-site power line, but they increased it again to 600 MWe after it was fixed and reconnected later the same evening, the regulator said.

The Chornobyl NPP remained connected to the power grid after engineers on 14 March restored power supplies that had been lost for five days, the regulator said. Russian forces on 24 February took control of the site. Staff there have not been able to rotate for more than three weeks.

In Kharkiv, the regulator said there was currently no external power supply to a nuclear research facility that was previously damaged by shelling, but its personnel were still maintaining the operability of its equipment. Radiation levels remained within background levels, it said. The facility is used for research and development and radioisotope production for medical and industrial applications. Because its nuclear material is subcritical and the inventory of radioactive material is very low, the IAEA has assessed that the reported damage or loss of external power would not have had any radiological consequence.

On the status of Ukraine’s four operational NPPs, the Ukrainian regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors remained operating, including the 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 and safety systems are operating, it said.

In relation to safeguards, the Agency said that the situation remained unchanged from that reported earlier this week. 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.

Director General Grossi said he is continuing his consultations with a view to agree on a framework on the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. “With this framework in place, the Agency would be able to provide effective technical assistance for the safe and secure operation of these facilities,” he said.


Last update: 21 Mar 2022

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