An international team of experts wants to travel to Ukraine and verify the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the IAEA is working towards gaining access to it.
The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, located in the Ukrainian Energodar, is under the control of the Russians. The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, said that the Ukrainian authorities are asking him and the UN Secretary General “to achieve the release” of the facility – the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. He expressed serious concerns about working conditions at the nuclear facility.
The Ukrainian regulator said, says Grossi, that control over nuclear material has been lost and the supply chain has been interrupted. No activity is being carried out to maintain the reactor’s internal security barrier. The head of the agency stressed that he continues to put pressure on the leadership of the Russian Federation in order to gain access to the station, which was damaged in March as a result of hostilities, writes “UP”.
IAEA experts express their concern that the Zaporizhzhya NPP will face the fate of Chernobyl, which has been occupied by Russian troops for 5 weeks. According to local residents, the station was damaged and looted.
Previously The Washington Post wrote that the Russians stole and destroyed equipment from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant worth $135 million. Some were tracked using GPS trackers and found in Belarus:
“We see that part of it is located on the territory of Belarus, along the border. And part of it moves through the territory of Belarus – Gomel, Minsk, and other places.”
According to the publication, 344 cars, 698 computers, 1,500 radiation dosimeters, software, almost all fire extinguishing equipment were stolen or destroyed. A complete list of what was destroyed and stolen is still being compiled. A Chernobyl representative told the media that during the occupation, 9 of his colleagues were killed, 5 were kidnapped.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some 6,000 employees monitored the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster and also reprocessed spent nuclear fuel from other power plants in Ukraine and Europe. The director of the Central Analytical Laboratory, Mykola Bespaly, claims that the Russians have caused significant economic damage to Ukraine.
The director of the “exclusion zone” Yevgeny Kramarenko said that the main part of the employees was evacuated before the invasion, several hundred remained at the station. On the first day of the war, a Russian general declared himself the new leader of the station and introduced the Rosatom staff, says Kramarenko:
“I believe that at the time they came in, they planned to be there permanently, they planned to take control for a long time.”
He estimates the cost of replacing what was lost at more than $135 million. The software has been specially developed for the station and is indispensable. Some of the lab’s most important jobs, such as monitoring radiation levels in the exclusion zone for signs of surges, are nearly impossible without it. According to Kramarenko, the station’s equipment and information was systematically stolen or destroyed. Lab Director says:
“Now it is impossible to provide reliable information whether the equipment is in working order or not, because there is no software. The Russians will not be able to use it, because the software is unique, made specifically for our devices.”
Now the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is working on the best evacuation plans in case of a new invasion. Kramarenko draws attention to the fact that the real danger is associated with forest fires with the approach of summer. All the equipment they could have used to fight the fire was stolen or rendered unusable.