Agenda Item 8: Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine.


The United Kingdom thanks the Director General for his comprehensive report on Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine and for his regular updates.

This Monday marked two years since Russia illegally seized control of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and we would like to make clear from the outset, regardless of what we have heard from the Russian federation during the course of this Board, that ZNPP is and will remain a Ukrainian nuclear power plant.

We thank the IAEA for ensuring that every report to the Board opens with a reminder of the General Assembly resolution adopted on 12 October 2022 declaring that the “attempted illegal annexation” of four regions of Ukraine on 4 October 2022 has no validity under international law.

The deeply worrying state of nuclear safety at ZNPP has, over the last two years been the focus of three Board of Governors resolutions and a General Conference resolution calling for the plant to be returned to Ukrainian control. These calls have not been heeded, and safety at the plant continues to deteriorate. Indeed, as the DG has set out in his latest report, conditions at the plant remain “very precarious” with six out of seven of the DG’s ‘seven indispensable pillars for ensuring nuclear safety and security in armed conflict’ now compromised.


Once again, the report before this Board highlights multiple nuclear safety concerns at ZNPP, pointing to an overall picture of degradation that must be addressed.

The IAEA assesses that there is still no comprehensive preventive maintenance plan for the plant, and there are no plans to implement one this year. The situation, should it continue, will have “implications for nuclear safety over time” due to degradation of safety systems and components.

There is a lack of spare parts available on site, and the supply chain is “fragile”. Empty shelves in the warehouses were observed, most items that were on the shelves pre-dated the armed conflict. As the report states, this has serious “implications for maintenance activities” and may “impact the overall nuclear safety and security of the plant”.

Once again, the IAEA reports that staffing numbers are significantly reduced from the start of the armed conflict. As employees of Ukraine’s national operator (the legitimate operator) Energoatom are no longer permitted onsite, this further reduces the number of experienced personnel at the plant. Russia claims that staffing levels are sufficient, but the IAEA has not been provided with the timely and precise information needed to reach an independent, reliable conclusion. 

ZNPP suffered its eighth total loss of onsite power during this reporting period. Worryingly, the IAEA’s update of 1 March confirmed that the plant had been without back up power for 10 days, leaving it dependent on the only remaining 750 kilovolt line for external electricity. This is power supply essential for reactor cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions.


As we enter the third year of Russia’s illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we note that the IAEA has sent 98 missions to Ukraine comprising of 131 staff totalling 208.6 person-months in order to help decrease the risk of a nuclear accident. A risk that would not even exist if were not for the Russian invasion.

We express our full support and admiration for the ISAMZ staff and all IAEA staff – the international community’s only reliable source of information on the situation at ZNPP.  IAEA reports of the presence of troops at the site, that armed troops have restricted ISAMZ access to parts of the turbine halls, coupled with reporting of a loud explosion on 16 February that appeared to be coming from the site or its close vicinity, create a deeply concerning picture of militarisation of ZNPP. This puts the plant at risk and endangers the local population and wider region. 

It is for all these reasons that the United Kingdom supports the Resolution Ukraine has tabled today. The Board has a responsibility to act in the face of such serious nuclear safety and security concerns.

Published 8 March 2024