IAEA expert mission visits Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant


  • Russia has turned Europe's largest nuclear power plant into a military base
  • A Ukrainian official said the ability to respond in case of an emergency has decreased
  • Russia has occupied the nuclear power plant since the start of its Ukraine invasion

Russia's occupation of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which it has turned into a military base, poses severe threats not only to Ukraine but also to its neighboring countries, a Ukraine official said.

Oleh Korikov, the acting chairman of the Chief State Inspector for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine, said more evidence shows that Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) now serves as a military base for Moscow's troops.

He stressed that the danger of an emergency over the plant has significantly increased as the Russian forces continue to exercise their position in the complex, but the ability to respond has decreased.

"The most serious is an accident with severe core damage and release of radiation products outside the reactor's containment. The release of radiation into the atmosphere may reach 1019 Bq (Becquerels), the unconditional resettlement zone will be up to 40 km, and the affected area will be transboundary," Korikov said at a Media Center Ukraine briefing on Friday.

Korikov added that world leaders who attended the Convention on Nuclear Safety in Vienna, Austria, last March 30-31, have expressed serious concern about the threats emanating from ZNPP.

Moscow's troops have seized the plant days after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"[World leaders] unequivocally supported Ukraine in the fact that the only way to restore security at the Zaporizhzhya NPP is to return it under the full control of the Ukrainian authorities with the de-occupation and demilitarization of the Zaporizhia NPP," Korikov added.

Last March 27, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at the Dnipro hydroelectric power station -- about 50 kilometers northeast of ZNPP.

The two discussed the security of Ukraine's energy industry and nuclear plant.

"Holding a nuclear power plant hostage for more than a year is the worst thing that could happen in the history of the European and in general global nuclear energy sector. The longer the Russian occupation of the ZNPP continues, the greater will be the threat to the security of Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the world.," said Zelensky in a March 27 address.

Grossi, in a tweet, reiterated the support of IAEA to Ukraine's nuclear facilities and added that Dnieper station is essential to sustaining the nuclear safety of ZNPP.

Before his visit Wednesday to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Rafael Grossi had met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky