An expert team of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday 21 November assessed the extent of damage caused by intense shelling over the previous weekend of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. The report came from IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi in his Update 130 of the same date. They were able to confirm that – despite the severity of the shelling – key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns.

The four IAEA experts currently staying at the site conducted an extensive visit of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant to assess first-hand the physical impact of shelling that occurred on Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning, in one of the most serious such incidents at the facility in recent months.

The status of the six reactor units is stable, and the integrity of the spent fuel, the fresh fuel and the low, medium and high-level radioactive waste in their respective storage facilities was confirmed, the team said.

Nevertheless, the IAEA experts observed widespread damage across the site. “This is a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks,” Mr Grossi said.

The team’s observations included damage to condensate storage tanks that caused non-radioactive leaking, several impacts on the main road along the plant’s reactors as well as on a site railway that is out of service, a pressurised air pipeline hit by shrapnel, two impacts on the roof of a special auxiliary building, minor visible damage to a sprinkler charging pipeline, as well as two impacts in a guardhouse area.

Operating and maintenance staff have begun repairing some of the damage and plant personnel are also cleaning up the site following the weekend attacks.

The team also reported that there had been no further attacks on the plant since, though there had been shelling in the area of the nearby city of Enerhodar and the industrial area.

Senior site management separately informed the IAEA team that four of the ZNPP’s reactors remained in cold shutdown and two in hot shutdown, continuing to produce steam and hot water for the site and Enerhodar, where many plant workers and their families live.

In the wake of the renewed attacks, the director general intensified his consultations aimed at establishing a protection zone at the plant.