The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have restored the remote transmission of crucial safeguards data from the Zaporizhzhia NPP (ZNPP) to IAEA headquarters after a technical interruption of almost two weeks, according to director general Rafael Mariano Grossi reporting via the IAEA’s Update 81 on 12 June. Dr Grossi welcomed the development as an important and positive step for the implementation of IAEA safeguards at Ukraine's largest NPP. However, he also stressed that IAEA inspectors must still go to the facility as soon as possible to carry out essential nuclear material verification activities which cannot be done remotely.
The transfer of safeguards data from IAEA systems installed at the ZNPP was cut on 30 May and re-established on 12 June. The images recorded by IAEA surveillance cameras during this time period are now being downloaded for review by Agency inspectors to confirm that continuity of information has not been lost.
Russian forces took control of ZNPP more than three months ago, but its Ukrainian staff are continuing to operate the plant. “Remote transmission of safeguards data is an important element of IAEA safeguards in Ukraine and elsewhere,” director general Grossi said. “However, it is not a substitute for the physical presence of IAEA inspectors at NPPs to verify nuclear material at regular intervals. If I am not able to dispatch inspectors to perform the required verification at ZNPP, implementation of safeguards in Ukraine will be compromised.”
The director general said he was continuing his efforts to organise an IAEA-led International Mission to the ZNPP as soon as possible to carry out safety and security work at the plant in southern Ukraine.
The IAEA continues to receive safeguards data from its systems installed at the other three operational NPPs in Ukraine, and from the Chornobyl NPP. Ukraine informed the IAEA on 12 June that eight reactors were connected to the grid, including two at the ZNPP, three at Rivne, two at South Ukraine, and one at Khmelnytskyy. The seven other reactors are shut down for regular maintenance or held in reserve. Safety systems remain operational at the four NPPs, and they continue to have off-site power available.