Rosatom and IAEA Negotiate over Inspection for Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 24, 2022; 22:51 ♦ (Vindobona)

Russia's atomic energy agency Rosatom and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have discussed details of a possible IAEA inspection at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russian troops. IAEA Chairman Rafael Grossi and Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev exchanged "detailed views on all issues related to the planned IAEA mission," according to a Rosatom statement.

While the IAEA wants to send a mission to ensure nuclear safety at Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for the attacks. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /Ralf1969, CC BY-SA 3.0

Shelling and heavy fighting between forces of Russia and Ukraine around Europe's largest nuclear power plant have raised fears of a nuclear disaster at Europe's largest nuclear power plant since the war began.

IAEA Director General said that Ukraine informed the agency that the shelling on Saturday (20 August) and Sunday (21 August) damaged ZNPP infrastructure, including laboratory and chemical facilities. Additionally, Ukraine said shelling on Monday (22 August) damaged the transformers of a nearby thermal power plant, causing several hours of power outages before the line was reconnected.

While the IAEA wants to send a mission to ensure nuclear safety at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for the attacks as reported.

According to Rosatom, Russia used the opportunity to clarify that Ukraine is shelling the nuclear plant and that Russia respects the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. However, it remains unclear which of the two parties shelled the plant.

However, the Head of Ukraine's Energoatom energy agency, Petro Kotin, suggested as reported for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be made a military-free zone. For Kotin, the presence of peacekeepers in this zone and the transfer of control to them would be the best solution to the dilemma surrounding Europe's largest nuclear power plant. In addition, he said, "the control of the station to the Ukrainian side would solve this problem."

The IAEA has been trying for some time to send a mission to the threatened nuclear power plant to ensure nuclear safety. The head of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, discussed this plan of the IAEA to send a mission to the Zaporizhzhya NPP.

Russian state corporation Rosatom stated at the meeting, where both sides discussed safety issues related to nuclear power plants in Russia and Ukraine, that it prioritizes safety. The meeting was also attended by the head of the Russian atomic oversight service Rostekhnadzor Aleksandr Trembitsky and the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov.

Rosatom chief Likhachev stressed in the meeting that the safety of nuclear facilities, "no matter where they are located, has always been and remains a priority for Russia." Russia shares the will to organize an IAEA mission "in the near future, as soon as the military situation on the ground makes it possible."