The director general of the UN nuclear agency, the Argentine Rafael Grossi, stresses that the situation in Ukraine, where the largest nuclear power plant in Europe is occupied by Russian forces, is “unsustainable” due to non-compliance with international supervision.
“I think the situation continues to be unsustainable and the more time passes, the more unsustainable it is. Because if we analyze from the point of view of safeguards and inspections, we continue without inspecting,” the head of the International Energy Agency explained to Efe. Atomic (IAEA).
The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, in southern Ukraine, is the largest in Europe in terms of electrical power produced, and has been under the control of Russian forces since March, which has caused problems for the IAEA due to frequent disconnections in the supply of data on the status of the plant.
“There are certain deadlines and commitments that must be met and that are not being met. And from the point of view of technological security: we continue to have connectivity problems,” explained the Argentine expert.
“It has also been public knowledge that the connection between our think tanks here and the plant is interrupted at regular intervals. Then they rise again, they fall again. This is not sustainable,” he adds.
Grossi insisted that repair and supervision tasks should be carried out that are not being carried out.
“Perhaps, unfortunately we are getting used to it. But well, beyond that, I continue to insist. And my insistence is still as urgent as the first day I can do,” he lamented.
The president of the Ukrainian nuclear regulator, Petro Kotin, accused Russia last week of militarizing the plant with the installation of heavy weapons, including missiles, with which they attack nearby towns under Ukrainian control.
Grossi assured that he cannot corroborate the Ukrainian accusations and explained that this type of information shows how necessary a verification mission is on the ground.
“Obviously we have no way of checking whether this is the case or not, and in any case, this further proves the almost imperative need at this point, to be allowed to return to Zaporizhia for a multi-target mission,” Grossi says.
“And I repeat: it is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. We are not complying with the inspection schedule. The amount of nuclear material that exists there is very large. We cannot continue prolonging our absence,” he stresses.
The head of the IAEA points out that it is also necessary to evaluate the physical damage to the plant due to the exchange of fire during the occupation of the plant by Russian forces, as well as the Ukrainian accusations of the use of violence against the plant’s personnel.
The IAEA director was willing in June to visit the plant under Russian control, but Ukraine vehemently criticized these plans, considering that the trip by the UN official could mean some kind of legitimization of the Russian occupation.
“That idea is wrong and it is also counterproductive from the point of view of nuclear safety, of safeguards and also of the property title, if I can put it this way, of Ukraine over this plant,” Grossi said.
He added: “The further away the organism is from the plant, the more the presence of the organism in the plant is a chimera, this situation will only get worse.”
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