The Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged Ukraine and Russia to adhere to five principles to prevent nuclear catastrophe during a briefing Tuesday to the UN Security Council regarding the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
The ZNPP was first shelled and occupied by Russian forces March 4, 2022, roughly two weeks after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. The plant is one of several nuclear plants shelled by the Russian military. IAEA Director Rafael Grossi first spoke about the ZNPP on March 4, 2022 where he set out “Seven Pillars” to minimize the risk of nuclear catastrophe. Grossi now feels that the time has come to “be more specific as to what is required.”
The principles are:
- There should be no attack of any kind from or against the plant, in particular targeting the reactors, spent fuel storage, other critical infrastructure, or personnel;
- ZNPP should not be used as storage or a base for heavy weapons (i.e. multiple rocket launchers, artillery systems and munitions, and tanks) or military personnel that could be used for an attack from the plant;
- Off-site power to the plant should not be put at risk. To that effect, all efforts should be made to ensure that off-site power remains available and secure at all times;
- All structures, systems and components essential to the safe and secure operation of ZNPP should be protected from attacks or acts of sabotage;
- No action should be taken that undermines these principles.
Director Grossi urged both sides of the conflict to observe the principles, noting that “avoiding a nuclear accident is possible” after describing an “extremely fragile” situation at the nuclear power plant. Grossi also stated, “we are fortunate that a nuclear accident has not yet happened” and “we are rolling a dice and if this continues then one day our luck will run out.”