Statement of the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy on the safety and security of operation of Ukraine’s nuclear installations

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The Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy is deeply shocked at the dramatic situation in Ukraine after eight weeks of Russian military aggression. Russia continues to endanger the safe operation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine and we strongly condemn Russian attacks, especially on Ukraine’s nuclear power infrastructure. There is an urgent need for further enhanced and co-ordinated action of all international communities and organisations as Russia occupies Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and endangers the activities of other nuclear installations.

The Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy shares the IAEA’s grave concern over the extremely stressful and challenging staff working conditions operating Ukraine’s nuclear facilities during this aggression - especially at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which Russian forces have occupied for over seven weeks and the Chernobyl site, from which the Russian military forces have recently withdrawn.

These armed attacks including forcefully seizing control of nuclear installations in Ukraine and the unprecedented staff situation have seriously compromised the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear power plants. The Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy recalls and endorses the seven pillars outlined by the IAEA including “Operating staff must be able to fulfil their respective safety and security duties, with appropriate staff rotation, and have the capacity to make safety and security-related decisions free of undue pressure”. Any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of international law.

Considering the continued and extreme nuclear risk triggered by Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, the Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy is urging the Russian Government to immediately cease military operations in Ukraine and to guarantee the safety and security of Ukraine’s NPPs. We also urge Russia to withdraw in order to allow the restoration of regulatory oversight of nuclear facilities by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine.

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