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International Atomic Energy Agency head arrives in Kyiv

by Elsa Court February 6, 2024 1:06 PM 2 min read
Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and International Atomic Energy Agency Head Rafael Grossi in Kyiv on Feb. 6, 2024. (Rafael Grossi / X)
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Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 6 ahead of a visit to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, has been under Russian occupation since March 2022. IAEA teams have been based at the facility on rotation since September 2022.

Throughout its occupation by Russian forces, the plant has been repeatedly disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid due to Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure.

Grossi said on X that he met with officials in Kyiv including Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and Petro Kotin, the head of state-owned company Energoatom, and discussed Ukraine's nuclear power plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, "actively present at each site, remains steadfast in supporting the safety and security of these facilities," Grossi said.

Grossi said on Jan. 26 that he plans to talk to the Russian management at the plant. "I will be seeing how the issue of the water is being dealt with," Gross told reporters.

Supplying water to cool the plant's reactors has become a critical concern since Russian forces destroyed the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on June 6, 2023.

The plant relied on water from the nearby Kakhovka Reservoir, which was depleted by the attack. Plant personnel are now drilling for water in ground wells around the perimeter of the plant.

"I also need to ascertain the longer-term plans for the plant. Are they going to attempt to restart one or more reactors, and why, and how? These are issues that have profound nuclear safety implications," Grossi said.

After his inspection of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Grossi said he would go to Russia, to engage in a political and technical dialogue with officials there.

Minister: Ukraine to start building 4 nuclear reactors in 2024
Before its occupation in March 2022, the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, used to produce more than 40% of nuclear-generated electricity in Ukraine. Today, three nuclear power plants in Ukrainian-controlled territory produce about 55% of the country’s electricity needs.
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