Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has informed the IAEA that it is having major problems communicating with staff due to the Russian army blockage.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi has informed the Ukrainian regulator is having major problems communicating with staff operating Zaporizhzhya, due to Russian forces at the site switching off some mobile networks and blocking the internet.
Some mobile phone communication is understood to still be possible, albeit with poor quality, but fixed phone lines, as well as e-mails and fax, are reportedly no longer functioning.
I am extremely concerned about these developments that were reported to me today, stated Mr. Grossi. Just a few days after I presented the seven main elements of nuclear safety and security to the IAEA Board, several of them are already being compromised. In order to be able to operate the plant safely and securely, management and staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions without undue external interference or pressure, he elaborated.
The deteriorating situation regarding vital communications between the regulator and the Zaporizhzhya NPP is also a source of deep concern, especially during an armed conflict that may jeopardize the country’s nuclear facilities at any time, continued the Director-General. Reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are a critical part of overall nuclear safety and security, Mr. Grossi concluded.
IEA tried to pursue the chief Rafael Grossi’s idea of a trilateral meeting with Ukraine on ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities there during Russia’s invasion. But Russia opposed inspections of Chernobyl and other Ukrainian sites during the invasion.
I believe Chernobyl is not the best place for such a meeting. There are numerous capitals in the world, Russia’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mikhail Ulyanov, told reporters on Monday dismissing the idea of the inspections.