Energoatom calls on IAEA for help

Nuclear site blocade

Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear utility, has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to intervene to help safeguard the country’s 15 nuclear reactors as Russian forces advance dangerously close to the sites. “We call on the IAEA to intervene to prevent occupying forces in the 30 kilometre zone around our nuclear power plants,” the company’s CEO, Petro Kotin said.

Video footage emerged on March 2 showing nuclear power plant workers and civilians blockading the access road to the Zaporizhzhia six-reactor site in the eastern part of the country. It is presently not clear whether the Russian military has gained control of the plant. Russian forces currently occupy the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant site, which houses still dangerous and unstable wastes remaining from all four original reactors.

Kotin reported that shells were exploding near the nuclear power plants which, he warned, “can lead to highly undesirable threats across the planet”.

On Wednesday, Beyond Nuclear joined nine other international civil society groups in submitting a letter to the IAEA asking the agency to intervene to guarantee the safety of civilians near Ukraine’s commercial nuclear power plants.

The IAEA, currently in an emergency meeting, responded with a statement from its Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, who said: “The situation in Ukraine is unprecedented and I continue to be gravely concerned.” He added: “The safety and security of nuclear facilities, and nuclear and other radioactive material, in Ukraine must under no circumstances be endangered.”

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