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Russia blocks IAEA access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The IAEA Director General says Russia has not allowed its experts to enter the reactor halls of three units at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was occupied by Russian troops in March 2022.
Russian troops stand near the Zaporizhzhia NPP
Russian soldier stands near the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Illustrative photo: Energoatom
Russia blocks IAEA access to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

The Russians have not yet granted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts present at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) access to all nuclear reactor halls of the power plant, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

Russian troops occupied the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia NPP, in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast (southeastern Ukraine) on 4 March 2022. Russia restricts international observers’ access to the nuclear power plant.

Generally, five nuclear reactors of the Zaporizhzhia NPP have been in cold shutdown, with one kept in hot shutdown, which the IAEA reported was necessary to produce steam for nuclear safety purposes, including the processing of liquid radioactive waste in storage tanks.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency experts at Zaporizhzhia NPP have not yet been granted access to the reactor halls of Units no. 1, 2, and 6, which hinders their ability to monitor the nuclear and physical safety situation at the plant, as well as the five specific principles established by the UN Security Council,” Rafael Grossi stated.

The Russians claimed that the reactor hall was allegedly “sealed.” Instead, they offered the IAEA team access to this area “in about a week,” Rafael Grossi stated.

According to the IAEA, in December 2023, IAEA experts were also denied access to the reactor halls of power units no. 1, 2, and 6, although previously the mission had access to the reactor hall of any unit that was in a state of “cold shutdown.”

According to Rafael Grossi, such restrictions on timely access of IAEA experts to Zaporizhzhia NPP “impede the IAEA’s ability to independently and effectively assess the safety and security situation, including to confirm the declared condition of the reactor facilities, spent fuel pools and associated safety equipment.”

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