IAEA Sends Observers to Ukrainian Nuclear Facilities

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced an intention of the Agency to maintain a permanent presence of nuclear safety experts at all nuclear facilities in Ukraine. It is expected that missions consisting of two IAEA experts will operate at South Ukraine and Rivne Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) as well as on the Chernobyl site. In total it is planned to send from eleven to twelve experts to the country’s NPPs.

According to Grossi, the experts will “monitor the situation at the plants, assess their equipment and other needs, provide technical support and advice, and report their findings to IAEA headquarters”. The Director General explains the need for an extended presence of the agency in Ukraine by the necessity to prevent nuclear accidents in the country.

Currently the Agency’s experts in groups up to four members permanently operate at the territory of Zaporizhzhya NPP (ZNPP), which is under Russian control (On October 5, 2022 Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation signed a document on the transfer of the ZNPP to Russian jurisdiction). IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) was established on 1 September last year. In January the fifth group of the agency’s experts arrived at the station.

Another mission of the IAEA is staring its operation at the South Ukraine NPP. On his social media Grossi has shared a video with the IAEA flag raising ceremony at the NPP. “We are here to stay to help ensure nuclear safety and security during ongoing conflict. Soon IAEA will be permanently present at all Ukrainian nuclear power plants”, - said the Director General.

IAEA has already presented its project of a Nuclear Safety Zone around ZNPP. The key condition was to cease fire around the plant. The role of IAEA in the process of the safety zone maintenance was to control the implementation of the ceasefire. The agency would also perform a function of an intermediary within Russian and Ukrainian disputes. However Russian and Ukraine have shared their positions and unfortunately there was no common ground. Demilitarization of the NPP, supposing complete withdrawal of troops from the territory of the plant, became as cornerstone. Along with Russian authorities ruled out the possibility of the station coming under the control of the IAEA, explaining that the agency does not have such powers.

Sources: IAEA, Twitter

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