The state of nuclear and radiation safety at Zaporizhzhia NPP, which has been under occupation by the russian militaries for a year and a half, continues to degrade daily. Therefore, the situation at ZNPP requires an independent, transparent and objective assessment by the international expert community. This was stressed by SNRIU Acting Chairman, Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine Oleh Korikov during an online meeting with international partners on 29 August 2023.
"Unfortunately, the presence of the IAEA permanent monitoring mission at ZNPP did not prevent the russian occupiers from carrying out irresponsible and unpredictable actions that harm nuclear safety and security. IAEA experts have not yet been granted full access to critical areas of the site. The work of the mission team is very limited and is influenced by the russian occupiers," said Oleh Korikov.
He emphasized that the recent IAEA statements are rather calming, do not fully reflect the severity of the real situation at the ZNPP site and may form a misconception of the world nuclear community that the situation at ZNPP is normalizing, predictable and controlled. On the other hand, the reports of the IAEA mission to ZNPP are informative in scope, only recording facts, and, unfortunately, do not provide an assessment of these facts in terms of compliance with IAEA safety standards and internationally recognized nuclear safety criteria.
Over the last month there were confirmed the facts of mining of the territory, placement of firing points on the roofs of power units, military vehicles in the turbine halls of units 1, 2, 3, 4 and in various parts of the ZNPP industrial site. The IAEA experts are unable to check the cargo of these vehicles because the occupiers do not allow them to do so. ZNPP units 4 and 6 were put into a "hot shutdown" state, contrary to the SNRIU's order, which limited the operation of all power units to a cold state. In the result of such actions, radioactive water leaked from the first circuit to the second in the steam generator No. 3 of power unit No. 4. Detonations and shelling were recorded on the territories surrounding the plant. Online data transmission from the automated radiation monitoring system has not been restored.
"I have to admit the difficult situation at ZNPP site getting worse from day to day. And this situation can`t continue. The SNRIU proposes, first, to consider the possibility of the independent and transparent assessment of nuclear safety at ZNPP site by international peer review team , without the participation of representatives of the aggressor country. And, secondly, to study the possibility of establishing an international nuclear safety and security assessment center, with headquarters in Kyiv ", SNRIU Acting Chairman said.
He also appealed to international partners to refuse cooperation with any russian authorities and companies related to the russian nuclear industry, to refuse to purchase russian nuclear fuel and equipment, and to restrict russian federation rights and privileges at IAEA.
The online meeting was attended by representatives of the European Commission, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC), the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of the Republic of Finland (STUK), and the National Nuclear Energy Agency of Poland (PAA).