Latest update on 7 March 2022
There had been no release of radiation from the Zaporizhhzhya nuclear plant (Ukraine) as a result of a fire there that was later extinguished, informed today the IAEA.
The fire was caused during a shelling on the plant by the Russian army at around 2:00 to 3:00 am.
“But we cannot rely on this good fortune to continue. It is high time to stop an armed conflict from putting nuclear facilities at severe risk, potentially endangering the safety of people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond. Words must mean something, it is time for action,” Rafael Mariano Grossi (IAEA Director General) said this morning after the Russian army had taken control over the Zaporizhhzhya nuclear plant.
The IAEA is the international, authoritative technical nuclear agency capable of providing the adequate technical assistance to help ensure the safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities, he said.
But in these conditions, IAEA Director General added, the Agency needed a commitment from every actor so that it could provide such technical assistance in Ukraine.
That’s why he has called both parties to convene in a meeting at Chernobyl nuclear plant this weekend.
On a phone call with Emmanuel Macron (President of France) Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) recognised thet the technical assistance by the IAEA could be helpful but on the meeting proposed by Grossi should take place outside Ukraine.
No spill but some of 7 IAEA pillars for nuclear security breached or put at risk
Grossi outlined seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on 2 March, convened to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine. Today he warned that several of them had already been put at risk during events overnight at the Zaporizhhzhya NPP, Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.
The Seven Pillars are:
1.- The physical integrity of the facilities (whether it is the reactors, fuel ponds, or radioactive waste stores) must be maintained;
2.- All safety and security systems and equipment must be fully functional at all times;
3.- The operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure;
4.- There must be secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites;
5.- There must be uninterrupted logistical supply chains and transportation to and from the sites;
6.- There must be effective on-site and off-site radiation monitoring systems and emergency preparedness and response measures; and
7.- There must be reliable communications with the regulator and others.
Of these seven pillars at least one of them has been put at risk : The physical integrity of the facilities: “I’m extremely concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and what happened there during the night. Firing shells in the area of a nuclear power plant violates the fundamental principle that the physical integrity of nuclear facilities must be maintained and kept safe at all time,” he said.
Besides, two people were reported injured, by the operator of the nuclear plant. Non of them are part of the technical staff of the plant, but memebers of the security team.
The operator of the plant has reported as well that the situation remains very challenging and therefore it has not yet been possible to access the whole site to assess that all safety systems are fully functional.
Despite this the information released today is that there has been no radiactive spill.Of the plant’s reactor units, Unit 1 is shut down for maintenance, Units 2 and 3 have undergone a controlled shut down, Unit 4 is operating at 60% power and Units 5 and 6 are being held “in reserve” in low power mode.
The Russian side keeps on saying that there was no Russian attack to the Zaporizhhzhya plant, but just an answer to a previous attack from Ukrainian groups. Foreign Affairs Minister, Serguey Lavrov went even further.
Ukrainian Authorities say that this kind of accusations are not true.
Image over the headline.- Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, briefs members of the international press and media concerning the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. IAEA Vienna, Austria. 4 March 2022. Photo Credit: Dean Calma / IAEA
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Related external links:
Rafael Mariano Grossi (IAEA Director General) press conference on the situation of Zaporizhhzhya nuclear plantin Ukraine 4 March 2022 (video)