The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has insisted that reports of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant being under the control of Russian forces is a cause for grave concern.
IAEA raised the alarm in a statement by its Director-General, Mr. Rafael Grossi, on Sunday.
Grossi said he had been informed by Ukrainian authorities that, even if regular staff continued to control the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, any action of plant management would require authorization from the Russian forces.
According to him, any action of plant management, including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units, required prior approval by the commander of the Russian forces that took control of the site last week.
The Director-General said the development contravened one of the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security that he mentioned at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors last Wednesday.
Grossi said, “I am extremely concerned about these developments that were reported to me today.
“Just a few days after I presented the seven main elements of nuclear safety and security to the IAEA Board, several of them are already being compromised.
“In order to be able to operate the plant safely and securely, management and staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions without undue external interference or pressure.
“The deteriorating situation regarding vital communications between the regulator and the Zaporizhzhya NPP is also a source of deep concern, especially during an armed conflict that may jeopardize the country’s nuclear facilities at any time.”
Grossi added that reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are critical part of overall nuclear safety and security.