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Russian military control of Ukraine nuclear plants cause for grave concern, nuclear energy agency warns

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  • Russian military control of Ukraine nuclear plants cause for grave concern, nuclear energy agency warns

    6 March 2022
    United Nations
    Peace and Security

    In a statement released by the IAEA, Mr. Grossi said he had been informed by Ukrainian authorities that, although regular staff continue to operate the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, any action of plant management – including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units – requires prior approval by the Russian commander of the Russian forces that took control of the site last week.

    Mr. Grossi said that this development contravenes one of the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security that he outlined at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on 2 March: that “operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure”.

    Communication severely restricted

    Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has informed the IAEA that it is having major problems communicating with staff operating Zaporizhzhya, due to Russian forces at the site switching off some mobile networks and blocking the internet. Some mobile phone communication is understood to still be possible, albeit with poor quality, but fixed phone lines, as well as e-mails and fax, are reportedly no longer functioning.

    The IAEA noted that this situation contravenes another of its seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety, that there must be “reliable communications with the regulator and others”.

    “I’m extremely concerned about these developments that were reported to me today”. Said Mr. Grossi. “Just a few days after I presented the seven main elements of nuclear safety and security to the IAEA Board, several of them are already being compromised. In order to be able to operate the plant safely and securely, management and staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions without undue external interference or pressure”.

    “The deteriorating situation regarding vital communications between the regulator and the Zaporizhzhya NPP is also a source of deep concern, especially during an armed conflict that may jeopardize the country’s nuclear facilities at any time”, continued the Director-General. “Reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are a critical part of overall nuclear safety and security”.

    Radiation levels normal

    Despite the communication issues, the regulator was able to provide updated information about the operational status of the Zaporizhzhya NPP to the IAEA, and to confirm that radiation levels there remained normal. ...

    https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1113382


  • #2
    International Atomic Energy Agency

    Update 14 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

    MAR 7 2022

    Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that a new nuclear research facility producing radioisotopes for medical and industrial applications had been damaged by shelling in the city of Kharkiv, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. The national nuclear regulator said the incident did not cause any increase in radiation levels at the site.

    The facility in north-eastern Ukraine is used for research and development and radioisotope production. Because the nuclear material in the facility is always subcritical and the inventory of radioactive material is very low, the IAEA’s assessment confirmed that the damage reported to it would not have had any radiological consequence, the Director General said.

    Nevertheless, Sunday’s incident highlighted once again the risks facing Ukraine’s nuclear installations during the armed conflict, adding urgency to an IAEA initiative aimed at ensuring nuclear safety and security in the country.

    “We have already had several episodes compromising safety at Ukraine’s nuclear sites,” Director General Grossi said. ...

    https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pres...ion-in-ukraine

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    • #3

      IAEA Director General's Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

      MAR 7 2022

      (As prepared for delivery)

      Mr Chairperson,

      Since my last statement to the Board of Governors, the IAEA’s teams and I have worked without interruption, night and day, on two major issues high on the international community’s agenda. First, the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants amid the encroaching military conflict, and second, making progress on the clarification of the outstanding safeguards issues with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

      The IAEA continues to monitor the precarious situation at Ukraine’s nuclear sites, issuing regular updates to the public via social media and the Agency’s website. The Incident and Emergency Centre remains in 24/7 response mode.

      The military operations at nuclear power facilities of Ukraine have caused unprecedented danger of a nuclear accident, risking the lives of people living in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, including Russia. Last week a military projectile hit a building at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya NPP, causing a fire but no release of radiation.

      It was a close call.

      Such a situation must not, under any circumstances, be repeated. ...

      https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/stat...s-7-march-2022

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      • #4
        bump this

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        • #5
          International Atomic Energy Agency

          Update 15 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine


          MAR 8 2022

          Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that it was becoming increasingly urgent and important for the safe management of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to rotate some 210 technical personnel and guards who have been working there since Russian forces took control of the site almost two weeks ago, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

          In contrast to the current situation for staff at Ukraine’s operating nuclear power plants who are rotating regularly, the same shift has been on duty at the Chornobyl NPP since the day before the Russian military entered the site of the 1986 accident on 24 February, in effect living there for the past 13 days, the regulator said.

          The Ukrainian regulator added that the staff had access to food and water, and medicine to a limited extent. However, the situation for the staff was worsening. It asked the IAEA to lead the international support needed to prepare a plan for replacing the current personnel and for providing the facility with an effective rotation system.

          Director General Grossi has repeatedly stressed that staff operating nuclear facilities must be able to rest and work in regular shifts, stating this is crucial for overall nuclear safety. Their capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure is among the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security he outlined at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on 2 March, convened to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine.

          “I’m deeply concerned about the difficult and stressful situation facing staff at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant and the potential risks this entails for nuclear safety. I call on the forces in effective control of the site to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there,” he said today.

          ... The Director General also indicated that remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP had been lost. The Agency is looking into the status of safeguards monitoring systems in other locations in Ukraine and will provide further information soon.

          https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pres...ion-in-ukraine

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          • #6
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            • #7
              International Atomic Energy Agency

              Update 16 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine


              MAR 9 2022

              Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) had been disconnected from the electricity grid and lost its supply of external power, two weeks after Russian forces took control of the site of the 1986 accident, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

              The Director General expressed deep concern about this development as the “secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites” was one of seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security that he outlined at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on 2 March, convened to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine.

              In the case of the Chornobyl NPP, however, he said the IAEA agreed with the Ukrainian regulator that its disconnection from the grid would not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located. Specifically, regarding the site’s spent fuel storage facility, the volume of cooling water in the pool is sufficient to maintain effective heat removal from the spent fuel without a supply of electricity. The site also has reserve emergency power supplies with diesel generators and batteries.

              Nevertheless, the lack of power is likely to lead to a further deterioration of operational radiation safety at the site and create additional stress for around 210 technical experts and guards who have not been able to rotate for the past two weeks, in effect living there around the clock, Director General Grossi added.

              “From day to day, we are seeing a worsening situation at the Chornobyl NPP, especially for radiation safety, and for the staff managing the facility under extremely difficult and challenging circumstances,” he said. “I repeat my urgent appeal to the forces in effective control of the plant to respect internal radiation protection procedures, to facilitate the safe rotation of staff and to take other important steps to ensure safety.”

              In another development, he said the IAEA in recent days had lost remote data transmission from its safeguards systems installed to monitor nuclear material at the Chornobyl NPP and another Ukrainian nuclear power plant now controlled by Russian forces, the Zaporizhzhya NPP. He said he was concerned about the sudden interruption of such data flows to the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters from the two sites, where large amounts of nuclear material are present in the form of spent or fresh nuclear fuel and other types of nuclear material.

              The reason for the disruption in the transmission of safeguards data was not immediately clear. The IAEA continues to receive such data from other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, including the three other nuclear power plants.

              ... Regarding the status of Ukraine’s operational nuclear power plants, the regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors remained operating, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP. Radiation levels at the sites were normal, it said.

              The Zaporizhzhya NPP site has four high voltage (750 kV) offsite power lines plus an additional one on standby. The operator informed the IAEA that two have been damaged and therefore there were now two power lines, plus the one on standby, available to the plant. The operator also said that the NPP off-site power needs could be provided with one power line available. Furthermore, diesel generators are ready and functional to provide back-up power.

              ... In addition, the regulator reported that the Unit 6 transformer had been taken out of service and was undergoing emergency repair after damage to its cooling system was detected following the events of 4 March.

              ... As part of his new initiative regarding Ukraine, Director General Grossi said he will travel to Antalya tomorrow at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. “In meetings there, I hope to make progress on the urgent issue of ensuring the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. We need to act now,” he said.

              https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pres...ion-in-ukraine

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              • #8
                bump this

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                • #9
                  LIVE

                  Watch as IAEA Chief @RafaelMGrossi takes questions from journalists on the safety and security of nuclear sites in Ukraine after meetings with #Ukraine FM@DmytroKulebaand #Russia FM Sergei Lavrov in Antalya, Turkey.

                  https://twitter.com/iaeaorg/status/1...C9rejckdgpAAAA

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                  • #10
                    International Atomic Energy Agency

                    Update 17 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine

                    MAR 10 2022

                    Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it had lost today all communications with the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the day after the Russian-controlled site lost all external power supplies, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

                    The Director General said that the Agency is aware of reports that power has now been restored to the site and is looking for confirmation.

                    Earlier in the day, the Ukraine regulatory authority had told the IAEA that emergency diesel generators were providing electricity to the Chornobyl NPP. The subsequent loss of communication meant that the regulator could no longer provide updated information about the site to the IAEA.

                    According to the information received before the loss of communication, both of the site’s power lines had been damaged, in effect disconnecting it from the grid, the Ukraine’s regulatory authority said. To ensure continued power, these lines would either need to be repaired or the generators holding fuel for two days would require additional diesel deliveries. The diesel generators were powering systems important for safety, including those for spent nuclear fuel and water control and chemical water treatment, the regulatory authority said, adding that the operator was not able to maintain some functions such as radiation monitoring, ventilation systems, and normal lighting.

                    ... The regulator further confirmed this assessment, stating that the safety analysis report for the site’s spent fuel storage facility concluded that there would be “no impact on essential safety systems” in the case of a total loss of power, including electricity provided by emergency sources such as diesel generators. Furthermore, the operator has also been able to confirm that there are no damages in the structures and systems of the spent fuel storage pool, and their original functions are maintained.

                    If emergency power was also to be lost, the regulator said it would still be possible for staff to monitor the water level and temperature of the spent fuel pool. But they would carry out this work under worsening radiation safety conditions due to a lack of ventilation at the facility. They would also not be able to follow operational radiation safety procedures.

                    The Director General has expressed alarm about the deteriorating and exhausting conditions for staff at the Chornobyl NPP, who have not been able to rotate since the day before Russian forces took control on 24 February. He has said this is also compromising a vital safety pillar, which states that “operating staff must be able to fulfil their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure”. Further adding to the stressful situation is the total loss of communication. The site had earlier been able to communicate with the regulator by email.

                    https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pres...ion-in-ukraine

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                    • #11
                      bump this

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                      • #12
                        International Atomic Energy Agency

                        Update 20 – IAEA Director General Statement on Situation in Ukraine


                        MAR 13 2022

                        Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that Ukrainian specialist teams had succeeded in repairing a power line needed to resume external electricity supplies to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), four days after they were completely lost at the Russian-controlled site, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

                        The Director General received the news from the head of Ukraine’s nuclear power company Energoatom, Petro Kotin, who told him that the specialists had fixed one of two damaged lines and would now be able to deliver all required off-site power to the NPP, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located following the 1986 accident.

                        Ukraine’s regulator separately informed the IAEA that the power supply line was restored at 18:38 CET by the repair personnel of Ukrenergo, the country’s transmission system operator. The Chornobyl NPP continues to work on back-up diesel generators and will be reconnected to the Ukrainian electricity grid in the morning, it said.

                        ... Earlier today, the Ukrainian regulator informed the IAEA that staff at the Chornobyl NPP were no longer carrying out repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment, in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks.

                        The staff of 211 technical personnel and guards have still not been able to rotate from the facility since the day before Russian forces entered the site on 24 February, the regulatory authority said, also voicing security concerns about transporting staff outside the Exclusion Zone set up after the accident. The regulator has no direct communication with the staff but receives information from off-site NPP management.

                        Director General Grossi said the increasingly dire situation facing personnel at the facility ...

                        ...Ukraine has previously informed the IAEA that regular staff have continued to operate the Zaporizhzhya NPP and carry out their day-to-day work, but that its management is under the control of the commander of the Russian forces there. In today’s update, the regulator said it had been informed by personnel at the site that at least 11 representatives of the Russian state company Rosatom were also present there, without interfering with the operation of the nuclear facilities. ...

                        https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pres...ion-in-ukraine

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                        • #13
                          bump this

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                          • #14
                            Chernobyl power line again damaged by Russia, Ukraine’s nuclear agency says

                            Today at 12:28 p.m. EDT

                            A high-voltage power line at the former Chernobyl nuclear plant has once again been damaged by Russian forces, Ukraine’s nuclear agency said Monday, just one day after Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko announced that power had been restored following a Russian attack last week that disconnected the site from the electricity grid.

                            “Reliable power supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is critical from the point of view of nuclear safety,” Ukraine’s nuclear agency said.

                            Ukrenergo, the Ukrainian utility that carried out the repairs over the weekend, said in a Facebook post Monday that the power line has again been damaged by “the occupants.” The company said its workers would have to return to the site to continue restoration.

                            Officials have expressed concern that a lack of power at the closed plant and surrounding area would jeopardize cooling systems for more than 20,000 spent nuclear fuel rods that remain at the site. ...

                            https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...ssia-invasion/

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                            • #15
                              Ukrainian authorities accused Russian troops of detonating ammo at Europe's largest nuclear power plant

                              Mon, March 14, 2022, 11:04 AM
                              Jake Epstein

                              Ukrainian authorities accused Russian troops on Monday of detonating ammunition at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

                              In a statement, Ukraine's communications center alleged that Russian forces blew up explosives next to the nuclear plant and that authorities were waiting for a response from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

                              Ukrainian officials also alleged that Russian forces plan to continue with explosions at the plant, and that staff had fled.

                              Energoatom, Ukraine's state nuclear energy company, said in a Telegram statement that 11 representatives of Rosatom, Russia's state atomic energy corporation, were at the nuclear plant when the explosions were reported.

                              "It is obvious that the detonation of ammunition on the site of the station is carried out with their direct participation," Energoatom wrote in the statement. "So it turns out that Rosatom is also involved in this terrorism."

                              Energoatom added: "All established international rules and requirements for nuclear and radiation safety are violated by this company."

                              Ukraine's parliament tweeted earlier on Monday that Russia planned "to begin 'disposal' of ammunition right on the site of the station near the ruins of the [Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant] training center." ...

                              https://sports.yahoo.com/ukrainian-a...160414672.html

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