9 Jun 2023 10:21

IAEA experts request access to water level measurement point in Kakhovka reservoir

BERLIN. June 9 (Interfax) - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors seek to measure the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir in order to assess the situation at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the IAEA said in a statement.

"To better assess the situation, the IAEA experts have requested access to the location where the reservoir's water level is measured and also to the Zaporozhye Thermal Power Plant discharge channel adjoining the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant," the statement said.

"It is essential that the ISAMZ [IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporozhye] team can independently verify the status of the systems that provide cooling water to Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant," IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said.

The IAEA noted that the Zaporozhye NPP continued to take cooling water from the Kakhovka reservoir on Thursday although the water level in the reservoir had dropped to approximately 12.7 meters.

It was reported earlier water intake might stop once that level was reached.

"The IAEA experts were informed today that the Zaporozhye NPP had assessed following a review that it should be able to pump water from the reservoir also after its level falls below 12.7 meters. So far, the results indicate that the pumps can likely still be operated even if the level drops to around 11 meters or possibly lower," the statement said.

The IAEA said that the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir was falling by 4-7 centimeters per hour.

"The general nuclear safety and security situation remains very precarious and potentially dangerous," the IAEA said.

As the agency said earlier, "work is ongoing at Ukraine's Zaporozhye NPP to ensure it has maximum amounts of cooling water in reserve, in case it can no longer access the nearby Kakhovka reservoir. [...] Even though the Zaporozhye NPP's six reactors are all in shutdown mode, they still require cooling water to prevent fuel melt and a possible release of radioactive material."

Valves and other surface infrastructure elements of the Kakhovka HPP collapsed in the early hours of June 6, causing an uncontrolled discharge of Dnieper water downstream of the Kakhovka reservoir in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Novaya Kakhovka, Alyoshki and Golaya Pristan required evacuation. An emergency was declared.