March 18, 2022
The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that consultations on an agreement for the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities were underway.
Zaporozhe nuclear power plant (Image: Energoatom)
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met with the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Turkey on March 10 for what he called “constructive” talks.
Since then, the IAEA has developed detailed proposals on how to ensure that nuclear facilities in Ukraine are not endangered during the military conflict.
The measures envisaged include the deployment of IAEA personnel to nuclear sites.
Grossi said, “With this agreement in place, the agency would be able to provide effective technical assistance for the safe and secure operation of these facilities.”
Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom announced on March 18 that its four nuclear power plants were operating safely.
The largest of these, Zaporozhe, continues to operate although the IAEA reports that the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) has declared that three of the plant’s four power lines are offline. There is also a backup power line. As with other nuclear power plants, there are also emergency generators on site.
In its March 17 update, the IAEA said the SNRIU had assured them that with two power lines still available, there were no safety concerns, although in its March 18 update, SNRIU warned that with the conflict continuing, there remained the “potential threat” of a power cut.
According to the SNRIU update, “representatives of the State Atomic Energy Corporation of the Russian Federation “Rosatom” are still present at the ZNPP site.” On March 17, the SNRIU said there was “no reliable information about the purpose and plans” of their presence.
The IAEA says it receives automated monitoring reports from the country’s nuclear power plants, while it receives none from Chernobyl, which Russian forces took control on Feb. 24.
Ukrainian personnel continue to manage day-to-day operations at Chernobyl but have not been able to leave for three weeks, with the IAEA and SNRIU both concerned about the welfare of personnel and increased safety risks for poorly rested personnel .
Research and writing by World Nuclear News