International nuclear agency to establish ‘continuous presence’ at Ukrainian plants | The Hill

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is seen from around twenty kilometers away in an area in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

An international nuclear agency will maintain a “continuous presence” at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants in an effort to avoid nuclear accidents as the country’s war with Russia continues, the agency announced Friday. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization that promotes the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology, said in a release that IAEA Director General Mariano Grossi will visit Ukraine next week to establish the presence of nuclear safety and security experts at all the counry’s nuclear power facilities. 

He will visit the South Ukraine and Rivne Nuclear Power Plants and the Chernobyl site, where what is considered to be the worst nuclear disaster in history occurred in the 1980s, to implement the agency’s plans to have two IAEA experts at each facility. 

“As this tragic war enters its second year, we must continue to do everything we can to avert the danger of a serious nuclear accident that would cause even more suffering and destruction for the people of Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi said. 

The release notes that the agency already has a permanent presence of four experts at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Ukraine’s largest, and adds that a two-member team will be stationed at the Khmelnitsky plant in the “coming days.” 

Concerns over the stability of Ukraine’s nuclear plants grew within the international community months earlier after the Zaporizhzhia plant came under intense Russian shelling as Moscow’s forces tried to take the area. The plant sustained damage and was repeatedly disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid.

Both sides blamed each other for threatening the plant’s stability. 

The IAEA responded by placing experts at the plant to try to avoid any possible nuclear accident as fighting continued around it.

The release states that the IAEA is expanding its role by placing experts at all Ukraine’s nuclear plants at the country’s request, and the agency will have 11 or 12 experts in Ukraine at any given time. Grossi said the experts will monitor the plants’ status, provide technical support and advice and report their findings back to IAEA headquarters. 

He also plans to meet with Ukrainian officials to discuss setting up a “protection zone” around the Zaporizhzhia plant. 

The release states that the team present at the plant reported that its last power line was reconnected to the plant after some disconnections occurred last week. The plant’s six reactors are shut down but still need electricity to cool reactors and fulfill other essential safety functions. 

“My consultations with Ukraine and Russia are making progress, albeit not as fast as they should. I remain hopeful that we will be able to agree and implement the zone soon,” Grossi said, referring to the protection zone.



International Atomic Energy Agency

Mariano Grossi

nuclear safety

Russia-Ukraine war

Ukraine nuclear power plants

Zaporizhzhia power plant

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