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IAEA chief in Kyiv lists main problems at occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP

Grossi will soon visit ZNPP and then meet Russian officials in Moscow.

IAEA chief in Kyiv lists main problems at occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi
Photo: Telegram/Denys Shmyhal

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi named the main problems of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP at a briefing in Kyiv, Radio Liberty reports.

Among them are the expiry of nuclear fuel in the reactors and a significant reduction in the plant's technical staff.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said he had discussed these issues with Grossi at the meeting.

"There is a question: the lifetime has expired, and then the manufacturer has to say whether it is possible to operate beyond the lifetime... This is a complicated issue. If it is not possible, actions need to be taken to unload this fuel, it must be done by qualified personnel, and then the issue of storing this fuel. These are important issues for the security of Europe," the minister said.

Grossi said that he would negotiate with the Russians on a detailed assessment of the fuel condition.

"This issue will be at the forefront of my discussions with the current management of the plant and with the Russian leadership in Moscow. We will insist that we carry out the most in-depth assessment of the state of the fuel in the power units," Grossi said.

As for the staff, according to the IAEA head, half of the required 10,000 are currently there. According to the Agency, since 1 February, the Russian occupying authorities have banned access to the plant for workers who have not obtained Russian citizenship and have not signed a contract with Rosatom.

"Compared to the normal number of staff that should be at the plant, which is more than 10,000, we are now seeing a significant reduction, by half. Tomorrow, during my visit, this will be one of the main issues I will raise with the plant's management, how they plan to replace these positions, with what kind of people, because these are technical personnel who performed certain functions that are very important for safety," Grossi said.

Halushchenko added that some of the ZNPP employees had special licences that allowed them to work at the plant. "We are talking about about 400 people who are licensed. Therefore, they cannot be simply taken away. Obviously, those who will replace them will not have licences. And this will definitely affect the work, and it will affect nuclear and radiation safety in general, and the functioning of this facility," the minister said.

After Kyiv, Grossi will travel to ZNPP and then to Moscow to meet Russian officials. He said that he expects the meetings to resolve technical issues that will help ensure safety at ZNPP.

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