Kyiv, Ukraine—— The International Atomic Energy Agency is sending teams of experts to all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of serious accidents as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, its head Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is part of the United Nations, already has a permanent presence at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine — and Europe — controlled by Russian forces.
The IAEA’s long-term presence at all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, totaling at least 11 staff, marks an unprecedented expansion for the agency. IAEA technicians will also travel to Chernobyl, the now-shuttered plant that was the site of a deadly nuclear accident in 1986 that ravaged much of Europe.
“Starting tomorrow, all nuclear facilities in Ukraine will have two flags; this is one for Ukraine and one for the international The second of the nuclear agency. ”
Grossi pledged the IAEA’s support for Ukraine as a weekend Russian missile attack on an apartment building in the southeastern city of Dnipro killed 45 civilians and Wednesday’s helicopter crash at a kindergarten in the Kyiv region rocked the country. The Minister of State was killed and the country was devastated. and about a dozen others.
Grossi arrived in Ukraine this week to hoist the IAEA flag and install staff at each nuclear facility, visiting Chernobyl on Wednesday and Rivne on Tuesday. Staff would remain at the facility “for as long as requested” by the Ukrainian government, he said.
Grossi said the IAEA flag flying in Ukraine was “more than symbolic”. “They reflect that they will mark the presence of some of the most renowned safety and security experts who will be providing advice and technical support during this very difficult time to each facility facing different challenges and issues, depending on the circumstances.”
Shmekhal also said he asked the IAEA to impose sanctions on Rosatom, deprive Moscow of its rights and privileges within the IAEA and cease any form of nuclear cooperation with the country. Grossi said the decision would be up to member states to discuss.
IAEA experts will deepen the technical expertise at each plant to prevent further nuclear accidents in Russia’s war, now in its 11th month, and monitor nuclear safety and security systems. Grossi said the missions were installed at the request of the Ukrainian government.
The Ukrainians made the request because “quite simply, (the facility) was attacked,” the prime minister said. “We want to avoid any nuclear accident, so we turned to the IAEA for safety and protection.”
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on the front lines of the ongoing battle between Ukrainian and Russian forces. Russian forces seized the facility in March and have come under repeated artillery fire since then. All six reactors there are now shut down, but the plant remains connected to the grid for safety reasons.
Grossi is pressing for the creation of a nuclear safety and security sanctuary around Zaporozhye, where the IAEA has been present for more than four months.
“I remain determined to make the much-needed protected area a reality as soon as possible. My consultations with Ukraine and Russia are progressing, though not as quickly as they should,” Grossi said in a statement earlier Tuesday. At a news conference, he said the IAEA was still in talks with the Ukrainian government on establishing the zone. “We’re much closer to a good outcome,” he said.