The risks of an accident at Zaporizhzhia NPP are very high. This was stated by Oleh Korikov, Acting Chairman of SNRIU, Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine, during a briefing at the Ukraine-Uninform Media Center on 28 July 2023. He noted that the increase in risks was caused by a number of factors.
"The first main risk is the presence of illegal, unpredictable and irresponsible personnel at ZNPP, who were brought there by the russian occupiers. The second risk is that the nuclear power plant has been turned into a military base where the invaders store military equipment, explosives, weapons, etc. The third risk is that decisions of the state regulatory authority of Ukraine are not implemented, which is mandatory and is one of the key principles of nuclear and radiation safety of the IAEA," SNRIU Chairman said.
Among other reasons for the degradation of nuclear and radiation safety at Zaporizhzhia NPP, Oleh Korikov also mentioned the following factors:
- the occupiers made illegal modifications to the design of nuclear facilities;
- the occupation has led to the degradation of the emergency response and preparedness system (internal and external crisis centers, as well as fire stations are not functioning);
- there is no proper reliable connection to the power grid, and the risks of losing external power supply to the plant and its blackout remain high;
- it is impossible to carry out proper regular maintenance and repair of equipment that is important for safety;
- a reliable source of water supply for Zaporizhzhia NPP, the Kakhovka Reservoir, has been lost;
- The invaders blocked the automated radiation monitoring system (ARMS) at ZNPP, which actually made it impossible for Ukraine to comply with the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident;
- representatives of the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia (ISAMZ) do not have full access to all facilities and equipment at ZNPP, and the russian occupiers have the opportunity to manipulate and mislead the IAEA representatives.
"Unfortunately, the capabilities to respond to emergencies have significantly decreased, and potential threats are growing. Therefore, the only acceptable option is complete de-occupation, demilitarization of ZNPP and its return under full control of Ukraine," Oleh Korikov summarized.