On April 24, 2023, Acting SNRIU Chairman, Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine Oleh Korikov participated in the 52nd plenary meeting of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) online. The main subject of the report was the situation with nuclear and radiation safety in Ukraine, in particular at Zaporizhzhia NPP, which has been occupied by the russian military for more than a year.
The SNRIU Chairman stressed that under the military occupation of Zaporizhzhia NPP, safety systems and equipment are degraded due to violation of operating rules, limitation of maintenance and repair capabilities. In particular, most of the fundamental safety principles, such as culture, regulatory supervision, legal basis for safety, responsibility for safety, safety leadership and management, defense in depth, accident prevention, personnel protection, etc. are degraded.
"The occupiers continue to pressure the ZNPP personnel, restrict access of pro-Ukrainian personnel to the site, implement illegal modifications of nuclear facilities at the ZNPP site and completely destroy the emergency readiness and response system at the ZNPP," said Oleh Korikov, adding that the risks and direct threats caused by the operation of nuclear facilities by incompetent personnel are also significantly increasing.
"Unfortunately, the presence of a permanent IAEA mission at ZNPP does not prevent the occupiers from continuing their illegal actions that contradict all IAEA principles, requirements, rules and safety standards," said the acting SNRIU Chairman.
He underlined that the russian federation violates the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the IAEA Board of Governors, neglects nuclear safety and has no intention of stopping acts of nuclear terrorism.
Oleh Korikov has appealed to his European colleagues to recommend ENSREG member states to avoid purchasing russian-made nuclear fuel, refuse the cooperation with russian companies and purchase russian equipment as unreliable partners and due to the high risks caused by sanctions, to support the de-occupation and demilitarization of ZNPP and Ukraine at the highest level, as well as restrict the rights and benefits of the russian federation in the IAEA.
In response, the report of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy emphasizes that Ukraine has faced a number of challenges due to the large-scale war initiated by russia. First of all, it is the impact of military operations on the safety of all Ukrainian NPPs, namely the threat of loss of power lines to the power system and the activation of automatic protection at power units. Zaporizhzhia NPP remains occupied by russian troops and it’s situated in the area of active military operations, it has been repeatedly shelled, weapons are located on the industrial site, and the surrounding areas around the plant are mined. Another challenge for Ukraine is to eliminate the consequences and damage caused to the Chornobyl NPP as a result of the occupation by russian troops in late February-March 2022.
The report of the EC's Directorate-General for Energy emphasizes the importance of support for Ukraine from European regulators and their associations ENSREG, WENRA, HERCA, as well as the European Commission.
ENSREG, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, is an independent authoritative expert group consisting of representatives of EU member states and the European Commission with the aim of continuous improvement and mutual understanding in the areas of nuclear safety and radioactive waste management.
The SNRIU participation in ENSREG meetings is important for Ukraine, as it allows informing European partners about the situation with nuclear and radiation safety in our country, risks and threats arising from a full-scale invasion. Such activities are aimed at forming a consensus position among European regulators and most EU countries in support of Ukraine.