The UN nuclear watchdog finalized the deployment of permanent missions to Ukrainian power plants — including the plants in Rivne, Chornobyl, and south Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian prime minister following his meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Wednesday.
The IAEA mission at Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant will also be functioning soon, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a press conference, with all the missions’ work continuing during wartime and afterward to restore any damage.
The IAEA continues to expand its presence in Ukraine, Director General Rafael Grossi said.
Following the meeting, Shmyhal said, “For the first time in the history of mankind, nuclear facilities have become an element of an offensive military strategy,” adding that Grossi pledged the IAEA’s full support in “our efforts to ensure nuclear safety,” including at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Remember: Zaporizhzhia, with six reactors, is the largest nuclear power station in Europe. The area, and the nuclear complex, has been under Russian control since the beginning of the war. Grossi and other nuclear experts have been concerned about the threat of a nuclear accident amid shelling around the plant.
Shmyhal said Ukraine has asked that the control of the Zaporizhzhia facility be returned to Ukrainian authorities and that there is a “complete withdrawal” of Russian troops and Rosatom personnel from the plant. Grossi assured Ukraine that the IAEA would never recognize Russia as the owner of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant., according to Shmyhal.
The prime minister added that Ukraine will “continue to insist on limiting Russia’s rights and privileges in the IAEA and terminating cooperation with Russia in the nuclear sphere.”