IAEA Finally Sends Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 29, 2022; 21:52 ♦ (Vindobona)

After months of negotiations and back and forth, the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine is finally setting off from Vienna. The mission itself is headed by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and the Agency is proud of the diplomatic success.

The IAEA presents itself proud and ready for the difficult mission to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. / Picture: © IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency / Dean Calma / Flickr Attribution (CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

After several negotiations and increasing threats around Europe's largest nuclear power plant, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finally achieved major diplomatic success. The IAEA mission is finally taking place and departed today from Vienna International Airport for its trip to Ukraine.

As Vindobona.org reported, Turkey and France helped in the negotiations between IAEA, Ukraine and Russia. Also, IAEA Chief Grossi himself negotiated with Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev about the conditions for IAEA's mission to Zaporizhzhya, as Vindobona.org reported.

The war in Ukraine threatened the nuclear safety of the huge nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzya. The Power Plant has been controlled by Russian forces since March but is operated by its Ukrainian staff. There were increased attacks, probably from both sides, and the power plant was hit hard, making an IAEA mission more than necessary to ensure nuclear safety in Ukraine and Europe. According to the IAEA, yet alone this month the site has come under repeated shelling, and last week temporarily lost connection to its last remaining operational 750 kilovolts (kV) external power line.

A vital safeguards activity will be undertaken by the IAEA mission at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to ensure nuclear safety and security. As IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and a team of IAEA experts and inspectors set out to the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) this morning from the Agency's headquarters in Vienna, they said, "We must protect the safety and security of Ukraine's and Europe's biggest nuclear facility."

In addressing any contradictory information about the facility, its operation, and the damage it has sustained, the ISAMZ will bring clarity to the situation. As reported by Vindobona.org, IAEA CHief Grossi told the United Nations Security Council earlier this month that the situation at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is deteriorating. To develop and provide an independent risk assessment of nuclear safety and security risks, the IAEA needs the facts gathered during a site visit.

At its arrival later this week in Zaporizhzhya, ISAMZ will evaluate the physical condition of the facilities, as well as the functioning of the main and backup safety and security systems, the working conditions of control room staff, and other factors. Additionally, the mission will conduct urgent safeguards activities to ensure that nuclear materials are used for peaceful purposes only.

According to Director General Grossi, there is no indication of hydrogen leakage at ZNPP at the moment, and all radioactivity measurements are within normal range. However, to investigate the true situation and help Ukrainian personnel ensure nuclear safety, it is of utmost importance that the mission arrives safely at its destination in Ukraine.