The monitoring mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has discovered mines along the perimeter of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, in a buffer zone between the facility’s internal and external fences, Rafael Grossi, the agency's director general, said in a statement on Jan. 19.
The mines which were previously identified by the IAEA team and were removed in November 2023, "are now back in place" in a restricted area inaccessible to operational plant personnel, according to Grossi.
"The presence of mines is inconsistent with the IAEA safety standards," Grossi said.
The plant also lost its immediate back-up power supply to the reactor units for several hours this week, the monitoring mission reported, in the latest incident underlining "persistent nuclear safety and security risks" at the site. The back-up power supply was reportedly restored eight hours later when two other back-up power electrical transformers were put into operation.
The plant told the monitoring mission that they are investigating the cause of the failure, but there was no sign of external transformer damage.
“The plant’s vulnerable power status remains one of the main dangers for nuclear safety and security at the site. The situation remains extremely worrying in this respect. The site has already lost all off-site power eight times since August 2022, forcing it to rely on emergency diesel generators,” Grossi said.