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Ukraine calls for stronger international action as Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant security is compromised

Ukraine calls for stronger international action as Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant security is compromised Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (Photo: Getty Images)

According to Oleh Korikov, the Head of Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate and Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, and his statement, made during a TV interview, Ukrainian officials have expressed their concerns over the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) perceived inaction regarding the deteriorating security situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), occupied by Russian forces since the onset of the war. Ukraine is urging the IAEA to adopt a more critical stance against Russia's unlawful activities within the plant premises, which are jeopardizing regional safety.

He revealed that the plant, which has been transformed into a de facto military base by the occupying forces, is intentionally violating Ukrainian regulatory protocols.

"All of this is unfolding under the watchful eye of the IAEA, which maintains a continuous presence at the plant. We would like the IAEA to assess these unlawful actions that pose security risks, and we strongly desire a more critical stance from the agency at the very least," Korikov emphasized.

Korikov reminded the international community about a recent security breach at the plant's Unit 4, where the integrity of a critical radiation containment barrier was compromised.

"The breach affected the integrity of one of the barriers in the path of radiation dispersion into the environment. The first circuit involves water that cools the nuclear fuel. This water appeared in the second circuit, intended for electricity generation in the turbine generator," he explained.

The incident necessitated the shutdown of a reactor unit, specifically Unit 6, which was transitioned into a "hot shutdown" state by the Russian occupying forces. Regrettably, this unit no longer contributes to electricity generation; instead, it draws power from Ukraine's energy grid. Additionally, during pump operations, steam is produced, subsequently utilized for the plant's internal needs.

Situation on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been under Russian occupation since the initial large-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Beyond infringing on the plant's operational protocols, the occupying forces have repurposed the facility for storing equipment and personnel. Throughout the duration of the occupation, the plant has faced multiple instances of disconnection from Ukraine's energy grid, further exacerbating the region's energy stability.

As concerns mount over the compromised safety and the potential environmental risks posed by the deteriorating situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine is calling on the international community, and particularly the IAEA, to take a more decisive stance to ensure the preservation of regional safety and security.