KYIV, TGO: Ukraine has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that two out of the six reactors at the country’s largest Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station (NPP) are working and the radiation levels are normal, days after Russian forces took control of the site in the country’s south-east, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has said.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Grossi said the Ukrainian regulatory authority and the plant management told the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog that the technical safety systems were intact, and one telephone communication line had been lost but another was still functioning, as was the mobile phone communication.
“The Ukrainian counterparts told the IAEA that the facility’s training centre located separately from the reactor units – had suffered significant damage during the events early on March 4, when Ukraine says it was hit by a projectile and a localised fire broke out that was later extinguished,” the statement said.
“There had also been damage to the site’s laboratory building and to an administrative structure,” it said.
According to IAEA, the safety systems of Ukraine’s three other nuclear power plants were operating and the regulator continued to receive online monitoring data regarding radiation levels at the sites, which were also as usual.
Six of their combined total of nine reactors were currently operating, the regulator said.
Staff at the Chernobyl NPP – which has been under the control of Russian forces since last week – have been on site since February 23 without being able to rotate the shift of technical personnel and guards, the regulator said.
Grossi has repeatedly stressed the importance of staff operating Ukraine’s nuclear facilities being allowed to rest and rotate in order to be able to carry out their jobs safely and securely.
He has also said that a “tense” situation with Russian forces controlling the Zaporizhzhia NPP site and Ukrainian staff operating it “certainly cannot last for too long”.
The head of the national operator Energoatom, Petro Kotin, informed the Director-General on Friday that the plant was now allowed to change work shifts.
All Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs) are functioning in a regular mode, the radiation background is normal, including at the Zaporizhzhia NPP controlled by Russia’s Armed Forces, Energoatom, the operating company of Ukraine’s NPPs, said on Sunday.
“Ukraine’s functioning nuclear power plants continue to work stably. The current capacity of all four Ukrainian NPPs provides the necessary volumes of energy production for the country’s needs,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency quoted the company as saying.
“The radiation, fire-prevention and ecological conditions at all the NPPs and adjacent territories have not changed and are within the limits of existing norms,” it said in an update on social media. The power units of the Zaporizhzhia NPP were not damaged, it was functioning in a regular mode, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Sky News Arabia published on Friday night, the report said.