Ukraine

Update 88 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine (6 August 2022)

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today issued a statement expressing his grave concern about Friday’s shelling at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and again stressing the crucial importance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) being able to send a mission of nuclear safety, security and safeguards experts to the site as soon as possible.

Ukraine informed the IAEA that the shelling had damaged the plant’s external power supply system but that two power lines remained operational, the Director General said. It had also triggered the emergency protection system of one of the plant’s three operating reactors. This unit was disconnected from the grid as a result of Friday’s events, Ukraine said.

Ukraine also informed the IAEA that there had been no damage to the reactors themselves, no radiological release and no reports of injuries. However, it said a nitrogen-oxygen station, which supports plant operations, and an auxiliary building were damaged. Firefighters had quickly extinguished a fire at the nitrogen-oxygen station, but it still needs to be repaired, Ukraine said. The IAEA has also received information about shelling near the spent fuel storage facility.

On Saturday morning, two of the ZNPP’s six units were operating and the radiation situation was normal, Ukraine told the IAEA.

Based on the limited information available, Director General Grossi said IAEA experts had made a preliminary assessment that the current nuclear safety and security situation at the ZNPP seemed stable, with no immediate threat to nuclear safety.

The IAEA will continue to closely monitor the evolution of the situation, the progress of repairs and any nuclear safety implications at the site, he said.

The Director General said Friday’s events had breached several of the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars that he outlined at the beginning of the conflict, in particular:

  • Pillar 1 (Physical integrity): Any military activity – such as shelling – within, or in the vicinity of, a nuclear facility has the potential to cause an Unacceptable Radiological Consequence.

  • Pillar 2 (All safety and security systems and equipment must be functional at all times): As a result of the shelling, emergency protection was activated at one of the units, diesel generators were set in operation, and the nitrogen-oxygen station and an auxiliary building were damaged.

  • Pillar 3 (Operating Staff): This recent activity further increases the stress of the operational team.

  • Pillar 4 (Power supply): This has been compromised as a result of damage to the external power supply system.

  • Pillar 6 (Radiation monitoring and Emergency Preparedness and Response arrangements): In the current status of the site, this recent shelling further jeopardizes the already compromised EPR arrangements and capabilities to respond.
    However, the radiation monitoring system is still operational.

In his statement, Director General Grossi said any military action jeopardizing the safety of the ZNPP – Europe’s largest such plant – was completely unacceptable and must be avoided.

The IAEA has not been able to visit the Russian-occupied facility in Ukraine's south since before the conflict began more than five months ago.

Director General Grossi said he would continue his efforts to send an IAEA mission to the site, stressing that this would help to stabilise the nuclear safety and security situation there.

In relation to safeguards, the IAEA is continuing to receive remote safeguards data from the four operational NPPs, but it is still experiencing a partial loss of safeguards data transfer from the Chornobyl NPP, the Director General said.

Ukraine also informed the IAEA today that ten of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors are currently connected to the grid, including two at the ZNPP, three at the Rivne NPP, three at the South Ukraine NPP, and two at the Khmelnytskyy NPP.