Nuclear safety situation at Zaporizhzhia NPP is extremely unstable – IAEA

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has called the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant “extremely unstable” after a visit to the plant.

Mr Grossi said this in a statement.

“Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is planning to resume pumping water that remains accessible despite a significant loss of water in the Kakhovka reservoir caused by the destruction of the downstream dam earlier this month”, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.

“The nuclear safety and security situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is extremely fragile. The loss of the Kakhovka reservoir was a catastrophe for the region and added to the severe difficulties of this major nuclear power plant. Now more than ever, all sides must fully adhere to the IAEA’s basic principles designed to prevent a nuclear accident. We will intensify our efforts to help ensure nuclear safety and security while assisting the affected region in other ways,” Director General Grossi added.

The statement noted that the IAEA is aware of reports of landmines near the cooling pond. Although no mines were found during Grossi’s visit, including near the cooling pond, the IAEA is aware of previous mine placement around the perimeter of the plant and inside it.

“Our assessment … is that while the presence of any explosive device does not meet safety standards, the essential safety functions of the facility will not be significantly compromised. We are monitoring this issue with great attention,” Grossi said.

The agency also reported that over the past two weeks, ZNPP has been receiving the cooling water it needs from stocks stored in the discharge channel of the nearby Zaporizhzhya thermal power plant.

In addition, according to the report, ZNPP plans to resume pumping water, which is still available despite the significant loss of water in the Kakhovka reservoir caused by the dam’s destruction.

The dam of the Kakhovka HPP was blowed up by Russian troops on June 6. The Kakhovka dam could have been caused by an explosion in the tunnel of the dam’s concrete foundation, several independent investigations pointed out.

The massive Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, under Russian control since the February 24 invasion, was breached early on June 6, unleashing floodwater across southern Ukraine, destroying villages and farmland and cutting off water supplies to tens of thousands of people.

The IAEA adds that among the potential hazards, the plant faces is that ZNPP remains dependent on the only currently operational 750 kilovolts (kV) power line, which supplies external electricity needed for reactor cooling and other crucial nuclear safety functions.

Before Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, there were four such lines in Ukraine.

Read also: Russia’s tsunami of fakes on Kakhovka dam will not wash away the truth

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