IAEA: Russian-occupied ZNPP will be able to cool reactors "for some time to come"
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi personally examined the threatening situation with the filling of the cooling pond for the reactors of the largest European nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia. To do this, Grossi arrived at the ZNPP occupied by Russian troops.
“Today, I visited the #Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to assess the situation after the catastrophic Nova Kakhovka dam flooding,” Grossi wrote on Twitter.
Despite the dramatic drop in the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir following the terrorist attack by the Russian military, the IAEA Director General noted that the water level in the pond is currently at the lower limit of normal. This allows ZNPP to maintain the ability to cool the reactors for "some time".
The official also emphasized the importance of maintaining a sufficient water level in the cooling pond to avoid increasing the danger.
"The plant is going to be working to replenish water so that the safety functions can continue normally. Of course, it is something that we will be monitoring very closely," Grossi added.
Earlier on June 13, the IAEA Director General arrived in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The parties discussed "specific steps to be taken to minimize risks and prevent incidents at ZNPP".
At the same time, Grossi proposed to send a group of IAEA experts to Ukraine to assess the consequences of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant explosion. The Ukrainian president supported the proposal and emphasized that the mission would be fully facilitated by Ukraine.
As a reminder, in 2022, Russian troops, in deliberate violation of international law, seized the Zaporizhzhia NPP, an object of high radiation hazard, by military force. Grossly disregarding security standards, the Russian military set up an ammunition depot in restricted areas, chaotically mined the territory, and demonstratively shelled locations near the reactors to put pressure on the Ukrainian government and the international community. The IAEA reports also state that employees of the Ukrainian plant were taken hostage and tortured.
On June 6, 2023, the Russian occupation forces blew up the dam of the Kakhovka HPP. The hydroelectric power plant, like the ZNPP, was mined and turned into an ammunition depot by the Russian army in October 2022.
The reservoir of the Kakhovka HPP was the only source of filling the pond that cools the ZNPP reactors. After the terrorist attack, the water level in the reservoir dropped. The IAEA has stated that if the water level drops below 12.7 meters, Zaporizhzhia NPP will no longer be able to pump water and cool the operating reactors.