IAEA expert mission visits Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant


  • The Russian army's storage was discovered by representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Russia had also been spotted storing war equipment at the plant in late July 2022
  • The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine recommends sanctioning Russia

The Russian army has been storing explosives in one of the turbine compartments of a nuclear plant in Ukraine, raising worries of a possible radioactive emergency.

The explosives, along with other military equipment, were found by representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the turbine section of power unit No. 4 in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), a report by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine revealed.

"The representatives of the IAEA reported on the fact that the Russian occupiers placed military equipment, weapons and explosives in the premises of the turbine department of power unit No. 4 of the Zaporizhzhya NPP," the report read

"This became known during the weekly communication meeting between the IAEA Crisis Center (IEC) and the State Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the activities of the IAEA mission at the Zaporizhzhya NPP site, which took place on May 2, 2023."

The report also noted that the Russian army was spotted placing equipment and ammunition at the plant in late July 2022.

The report stressed that storing explosives in the plant poses a significant threat to the nuclear and radiation safety of the ZNPP and endangers not only the nuclear plant's personnel but also the people living in nearby villages.

The State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine also warned that should a nuclear accident happen, the effect will be felt in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. The report ended with a recommendation to deprive Russia of rights and privileges in the use of nuclear energy. The Inspectorate also called on the international community to impose tough sanctions on Russian companies in the nuclear industry.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It captured the nuclear power plant in March after armored forces broke into the plant's perimeter. Since then, Moscow has been accused of using different parts of the plant to store heavy military equipment and explosives.

There is now evidence that suggests Russia has turned the plant into a military base, per Oleh Korikov, the acting chairman of the Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine.

A view shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant outside Enerhodar