Photo Credit: (Cover Photo Above) The IAEA headquarters with member flags in Vienna. Creative Commons License. Photo from 2022 by Schölla Schwarz. 
28 Jan 2023

IAEA concerned about nuclear safety in the Ukraine after months of combat near power plants


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is concerned about ongoing explosions near power plants in the Ukraine. For weeks the IAEA security teams have reported explosions , some strong enough to shake office windows at the nuclear power plants.  

On September 6, 2022., Director General Rafael Grossi said the world was "playing with fire" and possibly "on the brink of a very large nuclear disaster." Already during the beginning of the war, close calls were reported both at the Chernobyl site and at other active nuclear power plants. 

According to the agency, there have been many close calls with bombs exploding in fairly close vicinity to nuclear power plants in the Ukraine. 

According to APNews.com, on November 20, 2022, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he himself had observed multiple explosions near the plant.  


Ongoing observations of explosions and sheeling since September

Reuters.com wrote on November 21, 2022 that the "Ukraine narrowly escaped disaster during fighting at the weekend that rocked Europe's largest atomic power plant with a barrage of shells, some falling near reactors and damaging a radioactive waste storage building", quoting the IAEA. 

IAEA experts visiting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility reported hearing more than a dozen blasts within a short period in the morning of November 20th,  and could also see some explosions from their windows, the agency said.


IAEA teams now stationed in Ukraine have reported incidents for several weeks

Teams of nuclear safety and security experts from the IAEA have in recent weeks been stationed at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and the Chernobyl site to monitor the safety, according to a statement on the IAEA website

In a recent statement by IAEA released on January 26, 2023,  the agency confirms that fighting near nuclear facilities continues, and that explosions are occurring close enough that they pose a prevailing risk. Experts present Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) inform that powerful explosions have been occurring outside the facility. 

"Almost daily in recent days and weeks, the IAEA nuclear safety and security team at the plant has been reporting such events to headquarters in Vienna. Some blasts apparently take place some distance away from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP), while others seem much closer to the facility itself. Yesterday, eight strong detonations were heard at around 10am local time, causing office windows at the plant to vibrate, and more were audible today", says the statement. 


Calling for a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone

IAEA has been calling for the establishment of a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant for several months.

Director General Grossi said in the statement that  "these signs of combat activities near the ZNPP further underlined the vital importance of agreeing and implementing a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone around the site as soon as possible".

Read the entire statement by IAEA





Photo Credit: (Cover Photo Above) The IAEA headquarters with member flags in Vienna. Creative Commons License. Photo from 2022 by Schölla Schwarz


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