After Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine last year, the nuclear risk has come back to the forefront in a worrying way.
Indeed, the day after the invasion, on 25 February 2022, the armies of the Russian Federation attacked the Chornobyl power station and a few days later the largest power station in Europe: Zaporizhzhia
👉 find here ENSREG statement
These attacks were not without consequences, here are some of them:
- Power supply to the Chornobyl plant cut off.
- Damaged power transformer in Zaporizhzhia.
- Power lines cut in Zaporizhzhia
- Fires reported in the Chornobyl exclusion zone.
- Bombings at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
- Explosions at the Zaporizhzhia NPP site.
An IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia NPP in September 2022 only confirmed the seriousness of the situation and the inability to ensure the safety of the plants, which had become strategic targets in the conflict. Some NGOs questioned the capacity of IAEA to deal with such situations where one of its core member is involved (see Greenpeace’s letter to the IAEA Director General).
In this context Nuclear Transparency Watch and the European Environmental Bureau wrote a letter on 19 May 2022 to the European Commission and to the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group calling for reviewed stress tests on safety-related issues during nuclear security events, including acts of war.
The letter was answered in July 2022 and during the last ENSREG plenary of 24 November 2022, the participants reached a common position on this proposal. Now, on the 23rd February 2023 the Chair of ENSREG Marta Ziakova added in a new letter:
I can assure you again that the safety of nuclear installations and the effectiveness of nuclear safety regulation in these circumstances will remain at the centre of our activities.
The 28 February 2022, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi said:
The sound of artillery fire near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and the temporary loss of its only remaining back-up power line have again underlined persistent nuclear safety and security risks during the military conflict in the country.