The head of the United Nations nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has appealed for access to Europe’s largest nuclear plant occupied by Russia during the invasion of Ukraine is “completely out of control.”
Rafael Grossi has told the Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, that the contact with the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is “fragile” and does not function regularly
He was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia needs repair and inspection as the supply chain of equipment and few spare parts have been disturbed, “so we are not sure the plant is getting all it needs.”
“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” said the director-general of the IAEA. “What is at stake is extremely serious, extremely grave and dangerous.”
“When you put this together, you have a catalogue of things that should never be happening in any nuclear facility,” he added.
War, waged in the vicinity of nuclear plants, presents a grave danger to nuclear safety and security. At an #NPTRevCon side event I had the opportunity to explain the seven pillars, repeatedly violated as a consequence of war in #Ukraine. Thank you for the invite! pic.twitter.com/wHiQMR7Huk
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) August 2, 2022
There have been a few instances in which the UN’s nuclear agency has reported losing connection or having a very unstable connection with the surveillance systems keeping track of nuclear material at the plant. (Aljazeera)
Gravity of the situation
Citing the shelling at the beginning of the war when it was taken over, he said the integrity of the plant hadn’t been respected.
Additionally, the plant is under Russian control, but it is still operated by Ukrainian staff, which allegedly leads to violence.
In addition, the IAEA needs to perform thorough inspections to ensure that the nuclear material is well safeguarded, “and there is a lot of nuclear material to be inspected,” he said.
“And this is why I have been insisting from day one that we have to be able to go there to perform this safety and security evaluation, to do the repairs and to assist as we already did in Chernobyl.”
As well, he mentions that he is considering putting together a mission to visit the plant, although it must first be approved by the involved states—Russia and Ukraine—as well as UN authorization.
“If an accident occurs at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, we will not have a nuclear disaster to blame – we will have only ourselves to answer to. We need everyone’s support.”