Ukraine’s nuclear power plant ‘out of control’

United Nations (AP) — The United Nations nuclear chief has warned that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine is “totally out of control” and has urged Russia and Ukraine to take steps to stabilize and avoid the situation. We have issued an urgent plea to allow experts to visit the sprawling complex expeditiously. Nuclear accident.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the situation is becoming more dangerous by the day. Zaporizhia factory Enerkhodar, a city in the southeast that Russian forces occupied in early March, shortly after the February 24th invasion of Ukraine.

“All principles of nuclear safety have been violated,” he said. “What is at stake is very serious, very serious and dangerous.”

Grossi cited numerous violations of the plant’s security, adding that it was in a “place of active warfare” near Russian-controlled territory.

The plant’s physical integrity was not respected, he said, and continued attacks from Ukraine and Russia, which each blamed for the shelling at the beginning of the war when it was requisitioned, and for the attack on Zaporizhia. I quoted the information.

The nuclear plant is controlled by Russia, but there is a “paradoxical situation” in which Ukrainian staff continue to operate the plant, leading to inevitable moments of friction and alleged violence. he said. The IAEA has been in touch with staff, but they are “incomplete” and “varied”, he said.

“I don’t know if the factories are getting everything they need,” Grossi said, as the supply chain for equipment and spare parts has been disrupted. The IAEA also needs to conduct very important inspections to make sure nuclear material is protected, and “there is a lot of nuclear material out there to inspect,” he said.

“When you put this together, you have a catalog of things that shouldn’t happen at any nuclear facility,” says Grossi. “And this is why we have insisted from the beginning that we must be able to go there to do this safety and security assessment, to make repairs and to assist, as we have already done at Chernobyl.”

The Russian occupation of Zaporizhia reignited fears that the largest of Ukraine’s 15 reactors could be damaged, prompting another emergency like the 1986 Chernobyl accident. has occurred.

Russian forces occupied the contaminated site shortly after the invasion, but returned control to Ukrainian forces at the end of March. Grossi visited Chernobyl on his April 27 tweet that the level of safety was “like a flashing red light.” But he said on Tuesday that the IAEA had set up a “support mission” in Chernobyl at the time, which he said was “very successful so far.”

The IAEA needs to go to Zaporizhia as it did at Chernobyl to see what’s really going on there, carry out repairs and inspections, and “prevent a nuclear accident from happening,” Grossi said. increase.

The IAEA Director General said he and his team needed protection to reach the power plant and urgent cooperation from Russia and Ukraine.

Both sides would like this international mission to be carried out from different locations, which is understandable in the light of territorial integrity and political considerations, but there are more urgent matters, such as sending the IAEA team to Zaporizhia. ing.

“The presence of the IAEA will be a deterrent to any acts of violence against this nuclear power plant,” said Grossi. “Therefore, as an international civil servant and as the head of an international organization, I am pleading with both sides to proceed with this task.”

Mr. Grossi is a long overdue mandate to revisit the landmark 50-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty, aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately achieving a nuclear-free world. I was in New York to deliver the keynote address at the opening of the high-level meeting on Monday. .

In the interview, the IAEA director general also spoke about efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers that the Trump administration abandoned in 2018 and the Biden administration has been working to renew. .

“Efforts continue to go to further meetings or rounds to explore the possibility of reaching an agreement,” Grossi said. He said he heard the meeting “may be soon.”

US Secretary of State Antony Brinken said at the NPT Review Conference on Monday that Iran was “unwilling or unable to accept a deal” to return to the 2015 deal aimed at curbing its nuclear program. ” he said.

“There are important differences between the negotiating parties,” Grossi said, adding that there are significant verification issues related to past activities that Iran needs to address. “It’s not impossible. It’s complicated,” he said.

If the nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, is not extended, he said some IAEA inspections will continue. However, the JCPOA offers additional transparency and inspection.

Grossi emphasized that working with the IAEA to answer its questions and get inspectors where they need to go is essential for Iran to build trust and credibility. “Promises and good words are useless,” he said.

On a separate note, Grossi said last September that the US and UK agreement to provide Australia with nuclear reactors to power its nuclear submarines would require an agreement with the IAEA and would require an agreement with the IAEA before leaving the port. The amount of nuclear material on board it will return.

He said Australia has not decided which type of vessel to acquire, so preparatory talks are underway, but substantive talks cannot begin.

Being warships, Grossi said, “there are a lot of confidentiality and information protection measures built into such contracts, so they are technically very complex.”