26 May 2022 12:08

Energoatom denies IAEA reports of plutonium, enriched uranium at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

KYIV. May 26 (Interfax) - Energoatom, the operator of Ukraine's nuclear power plants, has denied a report from IAEA head Rafael Grossi that there are stocks of 30,000 kg of plutonium and 40,000 kg of enriched uranium at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is controlled by Russian forces.

"There is neither uranium nor plutonium at the Zaporizhzhia NPP that could be used for military purposes; they were not stored and are not stored. However there are fuel assemblies, but this is a completely different matter and it is called nuclear fuel, which of course all NPP in the world have," Energoatom said on its Telegram channel on Wednesday.

The company also said that spent nuclear fuel is kept in dry storage at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, but this also has nothing to do with the reported "nonsense."

At a discussion on nuclear safety at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Grossi voiced concerns about the Zaporizhzhia NPP having such nuclear materials and said this was grounds for a visit to the plant by IAEA officials as soon as possible.

Grossi said the IAEA is seeking to visit the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear plant in Europe with six reactors, 30,000 kg of plutonium and 40,000 kg of enriched uranium stored there, but its inspectors cannot get access.

He also said the situation where the plant is controlled by Russian forces but managed by Ukraine's Energoatom was unprecedented and unviable. In these circumstances, the IAEA does not have sufficient leverage to ensure nuclear safety, he said.

According to Russia's Defense Ministry, the plant has been controlled by the Russian army since February 28.

The IAEA has repeated said it plans to visit the plant and is holding talks on this with both Ukraine and Russia. Energoatom head Petro Kotin, however, said an IAEA visit to the plant would be inappropriate in the current situation.