9 March 2022 - IAEA news report on status of Ukraine nuclear power plants (NPP)
“The remote transmission of data from IAEA safeguards equipment located at nuclear sites around the world is an important component of our safeguards implementation, in Ukraine and globally,” he said. “Such systems are installed in several facilities in Ukraine, including all nuclear power plants, and enable us to monitor nuclear material and activities at these sites when our inspectors are not present.”
Even though technical features were in place to ensure that the data was stored locally, the storage capacity as well as the operational status of the monitoring systems remained uncertain, he said.
Through safeguards technical measures the IAEA verifies that countries are honouring their international legal obligations to use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes.
Regarding the status of Ukraine’s operational NPPs, the [Ukraine] 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. “Nevertheless, this is another example of where the safety pillar to secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites has been compromised,” Director General Grossi said.
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.
These recent developments added to the IAEA’s growing concerns about the safety, security and safeguards impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the country’s nuclear facilities, including its four operating nuclear power plants as well as the Chornobyl site.
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 Çavusoglu. “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.
The situation is getting more dangerous for NPP operations and safety. I will provide upates from the IAEA.