The continued presence of the Russian military at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and complaints about their mistreatment of the plant’s maintenance personnel are leading to an extremely unstable situation, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Nuclear Energy Agency (IAEA), told DW on Friday, July 29, in an interview with DW.
According to the head of the IAEA, the capture of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe during the hostilities and subsequent service personnel messages about the use of violence against them is “a combination of violations of every possible security rule imaginable.” Russian troops seized the station in early March, and since then there has not been a single international monitoring group at the nuclear power plant that could be convinced of the stability of the situation. When captured by the Russian army shelled the station with artillerywhich President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky drew attention to. The totality of all these facts suggests that the situation at the nuclear power plant is “unstable,” the director of the agency believes.
Grossi: Ukraine is the sole legal owner of ZNPP
Grossi tried to organize an IAEA mission to ZNPP to check reports not only of mistreatment of personnel, but also of explosives that Russian troops had planted on the station. Similar messages were also circulating at the time of the seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by the Russian troops andconfirmed when the occupying forces retreated from the station.
However, despite Russia’s permission to visit ZNPP “under certain circumstances”, the IAEA director considers it difficult to organize such a trip under the current conditions. The reason is that the station is located in a war zone where shelling continues, and the mission should be controlled not only by the UN, but also by Ukraine, since Grossi considers the country “the only legitimate owner of the nuclear power plant.”
Nevertheless, the head of the IAEA is set on a quick trip of the mission to the territory of the station and will discuss this issue with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Russia’s behavior has shown the value of nuclear power
Grossi believes that the war unleashed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the restrictions on gas supplies from Russia to the EU made people pay more attention to nuclear energy – if earlier people considered it a “green” alternative to traditional fuels, then Russia’s actions made the issue of energy independence of countries urgent.
As an example, Grossi cites Germany, where the authorities wanted to turn off the last three by the end of 2022 of the nuclear power plants operating in the country, but against the background of the war in Ukraine and problems with the supply of Russian gas, “many are asking why not continue to use the remaining nuclear infrastructure.”
Grossi believes that more and more countries will be asking similar questions in the near future. In addition, nuclear power plants could help in solving the problem of atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution, since it is almost not emitted during the operation of stations.
Nuclear waste is the most controlled waste in the world
“You could say that the nuclear power industry is an industry where you have a precise idea of where every last gram of so-called waste will end up, which is not true of the rest of the industry,” says Grossi. establish control and management.
In addition, the head of the IAEA considers the issues of possible leaks of nuclear waste and how nature is affected by the extraction of minerals that are used in traditional energy are incomparable.
Nevertheless, the German government at the beginning of 2022 refused to recognize nuclear energy as “green”, believing that its production is associated with the risk of serious accidents that are dangerous for the environment. Instead, an intermediate technology on the way to “green” energy German authorities consider natural gas.