6 Sep 2022 18:05

IAEA recommends secure zone be set up around Zaporizhzhya NPP - report

BERLIN. Sept 6 (Interfax) - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recommended that a secure area be set up around the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in order to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident at the plant, an IAEA report released on Tuesday said.

"Pending the end of the conflict and re-establishment of stable conditions there is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means. This can be achieved by the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone," the IAEA report says.

"The IAEA is ready to start immediately the consultations leading to the urgent establishment of such a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the ZNPP," it says.

According to the report, the IAEA remains extremely alarmed at the situation at the ZNPP. IAEA experts have singled out the 'seven pillars' in identifying difficulties present at the nuclear plant, it says. "As noted, the Seven Pillars specifically apply to these unprecedented circumstances in which military forces are near or on the site of a nuclear facility, in particular of an operational NPP," the report says.

"The IAEA recommends that all concerned parties should commit and contribute to ensuring effective supply chains for continued nuclear safety and security of the plant under all conditions," it says.

"The IAEA recommends that [...] all military activities that may affect the power supply systems end," it says.

"The IAEA recommends that (1) the emergency response functions should be drilled and exercised, and the emergency response facilities to support these functions be re-established, and (2) preparedness should be re-established through regular training, clear decision-making chains and readily available communication means and logistical support." Communications with all external entities, as necessary for the plant's safe operation, should be maintained, the IAEA said.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said last week that what worried him the most was "the physical integrity of the plant," its power supply and operating staff.

All the other issues can be worked on, he told reporters in Vienna.

As reported, in order to illustrate the state current of affairs at the ZNPP, Grossi showed reporters a chart assessing the following seven aspects referred to as the 'seven pillars.'

The first such pillar - physical integrity - was indicated in the chart by the red color symbolizing utmost serious problems. Grossi explained that this aspect made him concerned as hostilities had taken place near the nuclear plant. Grossi said that his team had seen traces of bombardments on the site of the plant.

The second pillar - the operation of 'safety and security systems and equipment' - was in yellow. Grossi emphasized that most of the systems operated normally, indicating. However, that some problems had been identified.

The third pillar referred to working conditions of the operating staff. In illustrating the actual situation in this respect, a half-red, half-yellow circle appeared on the table. This aspect causes serious concern with the IAEA, Grossi said. He explained that he decided not to paint the entire circle in red, because workers were doing their job professionally at the ZNPP.

The fourth pillar, which is off-site power supply at the ZNPP, is of the same color as the third one. This aspect is important since electricity supply is necessary, in particular, in terms of facilitating the work of the power units' cooling systems.

The fifth pillar - logistical supply chains - left Grossi optimistic in general: the circle is colored yellow and green. People at the ZNPP reaffirmed him that there were no serious problems with the plant receiving deliveries of anything it needs.

The sixth pillar - on-site and off-site radiation monitoring systems and emergency preparedness and response. Half of the circle was green and the other half red. There have been disruptions in the operation of the systems, Grossi said, noting some positive points in this field.

The seventh pillar, which is reliable communications with the IAEA, the regulator, was all yellow.