The International Nuclear Energy Agency (IAEA) has declared that there was no immediate threat to nuclear safety at Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (NPP) after the latest shelling of its site by the Russian military.
“Based on the information provided by Ukraine, IAEA experts assessed that there was no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of Saturday’s incident,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a press release on the IAEA website on Wednesday night.
A shelling incident on August 6 near the dry spent fuel storage facility at Zaporizhia NPP caused some damage, but that available radiation measurements continued to show normal levels at the site.
The IAEA also said that there was no visible damage to the containers with spent nuclear fuel or to the protective perimeter of the facility.
However, the agency added that the shelling damaged communication cables that are part of its radiation control system, with a possible impact on the functioning of three radiation detection sensors.
The IAEA also once again drew attention to the fact that the shelling of Zaporizhia NPP site on August 5 and August 6 breached virtually all the seven indispensable nuclear safety and security pillars, including those related to a nuclear power plant’s physical integrity, functioning safety and security systems, staff and external power supplies.
“Ukraine informed the IAEA after the incident that plant staff had restricted access to the Zaporizhia NPP’s on-site crisis centre, potentially impacting response activities in case of an emergency even if access to an off-site centre remained possible,” the IAEA said.
In addition, the Ukrainian nuclear regulator said its communications with Zaporizhia NPP were “very limited and fragmentary,” the IAEA aid.
Grossi, for his part, again stressed the need for an IAEA expert mission to go to the plant as soon as possible to help stabilise the nuclear safety and security situation, and added that the IAEA is in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities and continues to monitor the nuclear safety and security situation.