Zaporizhzhya NPP, which has been under Russian occupation for more than 22 months, has become an instrument of nuclear terror for the invaders of Ukraine and the whole world, since a possible accident with radiation consequences can be transboundary and the risks of its occurrence only increase. This was stated by the Head of State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine - Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine Oleh Korikov, commenting on the statement of the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi on the current situation at the ZNPP of January 19, 2024.
“Further occupation of Zaporizhzhya NPP will only complicate the state of nuclear and radiation safety at the industrial site. Last year we already had several operational events that could potentially lead to an accident with radiation consequences. Non-qualified personnel at the nuclear power plant, lack of proper maintenance and repairs, the presence of weapons, explosives, military equipment, invaders impede the work of experts of the IAEA permanent monitoring mission, do not provide them with full access, periodically there are losses of power supply to the station from the Ukrainian power system due to Russian shelling, etc. - these factors, if not eliminated, will inevitably lead to even greater degradation of nuclear and radiation safety at Zaporizhzhya NPP. Therefore, it is worth preparing for an increase in the number of operational events that will carry a potential threat of accidents with radiation consequences. Such risks will only grow. There is only one way out - demilitarization and de-occupation of Zaporizhzhya NPP, its return under the control of the legitimate operating organization SE «NNEGC «Energoatom» and under the regulatory supervision of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine”, said Oleh Korikov.
The Head of SNRIU also stressed that the equipment and systems of ZNPP, the power units of which have been in a state of shutdown for a long time, require special attention of qualified specialists and the implementation of scheduled maintenance and repairs.
“However, there was no proper maintenance last year, the invaders are not going to implement a comprehensive maintenance plan for 2024 - the IAEA came to this conclusion. This indicates that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe interests the Russian occupiers primarily as an instrument of nuclear terror, which they threaten both Ukraine and the whole world”, Oleh Korikov said.
As stated in the statement of the IAEA General Director, last Thursday there was a failure of two of the ZNPP’s back-up power electrical transformers. Rafael Mariano Grossi also said that IAEA experts managed to bypass all six main control rooms of ZNPP power units, but due to the limitations of the mission by the invaders, the experts could not ask questions about staff qualifications and experience. Also, the invaders continue to limit the work of the IAEA mission, not providing full access to turbine and reactor halls, as well as to some of the reactor rooftops.
Based on discussions and information provided to the ISAMZ team, the IAEA concludes that the ZNPP will not be implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan during 2024.
The occupation administration continues to militarize the Zaporizhzhya NPP site, and IAEA experts again report about mines along the perimeter of the nuclear power plant. The last time IAEA experts reported about it was in November 2023.