Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the focus IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi. Image courtesy Dean Calma / IAEA. The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi met yesterday in Istanbul with senior Russian officials, including Alexei Likhachev, head of state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom.

The IAEA said in a statement that Mr Grossi was continuing “timely and professional discussions where he stressed the urgency of ensuring the safety” of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southern Ukraine.

A statement by Rosatom after the meeting said “particular attention” was given to the situation at Zaporizhzhia, including taking into account the Mr Grossi’s initiative to organise an IAEA mission to the site.

Last week, Mr Grossi told journalists in Vienna that Zaporizhzhia continued to be a concern for the IAEA as it was still under Russian control and beyond the oversight of the Ukrainian national regulator.

He said the IAEA needs to conduct inspections at Zaporizhzhia related to the agency’s safeguards obligations and the safety and security of the plant, which was taken by Russian troops after an armed assault on 4 March 2022.

Mr Grossi said that he was expecting to meet Russian officials to discuss the situation at Ukraine’s nuclear power stations and reiterated that the physical integrity of nuclear facilities was “an absolute must.”

According to the latest official information, seven of Ukraine’s 15 operational reactors at four nuclear power stations are connected to the grid.

The units in operation are two at Zaporizhzhia, two at Rivne (Rovno), two at South Ukraine and one at Khmelnitski. The eight other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve.

Safety systems remain operational at the country’s four stations and they continue to have offsite power available.

The IAEA said the remote transfer of safeguards data from the Chernobyl nuclear station to the agency’s Vienna headquarters has now been fully restored after its technicians last week upgraded the unattended monitoring systems installed at the site and deployed new transmission channels based on satellite technologies.

The transmission from Chernobyl had been interrupted for two months during Russia’s occupation of the site. For the four operational nuclear stations in Ukraine, remote data is being transferred to the IAEA.

Date: Friday, 06 May 2022
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