According to Rafael Moreno Grossi, the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant faces “a relatively dangerous situation” following the Kakhovka Dam burst.
Just before departing for a visit to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe; the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Grossi spoke to reporters in Kyiv. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and subsequent seizure of the facility, that factory has frequently been caught in the crossfire.
Grossi disclosed that he had visited with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to talk about the plant’s position, which became more critical when the Kakhovka Dam burst last week.
The dam, further down the Dnieper River, helped keep water in a reservoir that cools the plant’s reactors. Ukraine has said Russia blew up the dam, something denied by Moscow, though analysts say the flood likely disrupted Kyiv’s counteroffensive plans.
The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that the level of the reservoir that feeds the plant is dropping “quite steadily” but that it did not represent an “immediate danger.”
“It is a serious situation because you are limited to the water you have there. If there was a break in the gates that contain this water or anything like this, you would really lose all your cooling capacity.”Rafael Moreno Grossi
Recently, Ukraine announced that it hoped to put the last functioning reactor into a cold shutdown; a process in which all control rods are inserted into the reactor core to stop the nuclear fission reaction and generation of heat and pressure. Already, five of the plant’s six reactors are in a cold shutdown.
When asked about Ukraine’s plans, Grossi noted that Russia controlled the plant and that it represented “yet again, another unwanted situation deriving from this anomalous situation.”
Ukrainian workers still run the plant, though under an armed Russian military presence. The IAEA has a team at the plant, and Grossi said that its members would be swapped out during his trip.
Grossi Expresses Worry About The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant Being Hit
In response to a question about the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Grossi noted that he was “very concerned” about the plant potentially getting caught again in open warfare.
“There is active combat. So we are worrying that there could be, I mean, obviously mathematically, the possibilities of a hit,” he said.
Commenting on Ukrainian fears that the plant could be wired with explosives, Grossi emphasized that the IAEA had not yet “seen any heavy military equipment” from the Russians at the plant.
“There shouldn’t be any military equipment or artillery or amounts of ammunition, an amount that could compromise the security of the plant. We do not have any indication at this point, but it could not be excluded.”Rafael Moreno Grossi
Also on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, Russian President, Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia’s blame against Ukrainian forces for the destruction of Kakhovka dam that caused vast flooding on both sides of the front line in southern Ukraine.
Putin averred that a Ukrainian counteroffensive has been unsuccessful and that the country suffered losses that he called “catastrophic.” He asserted that Ukraine lost 160 tanks and over 360 other armored vehicles, while Russia only lost 54 tanks.
Those claims could not be immediately verified, and Ukrainian officials typically do not comment on losses among their forces.