The world is fortunate a nuclear accident has not happened in Ukraine, the UN nuclear chief said on Tuesday.
Rafael Grossi asked Moscow and Kyiv to commit to preventing any attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and make other pledges “to avoid the danger of a catastrophic incident”.
Mr Grossi reiterated to the UN Security Council what he told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors in March: “We are rolling a dice and if this continues then one day our luck will run out.”
The IAEA director general said avoiding a nuclear accident is possible if five principles are observed at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where fighting on seven occasions, most recently last week, disrupted critical power supplies, “the last line of defence against a nuclear accident”.
Mr Grossi “respectfully and solemnly” asked Ukraine and Russia to observe the principles, saying IAEA experts at Zaporizhzhia will start monitoring and he will publicly report on any violations:
— Ban attacks from or against the plant, especially targeting reactors and spent fuel storage areas.
— Ban the storage of heavy weapons or presence of military personnel that could be used for an attack.
— Ensure the security of an uninterrupted off-site power supply to the plant.
— Protect “all structures, systems and components” essential to the plant’s operation from attacks or acts of sabotage.
— Take no action to undermine these principles.
Mr Grossi asked the 15 Security Council members to support the five principles, stressing that they are “to no one’s detriment and to everyone’s benefit”.
The Kremlin’s forces took over the plant after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky opposes any proposal that would legitimise Russia’s control.