An international inspection arrived at the Zaporizhia Power Plant. Ukrainians do not trust the control mission very much | iRADIO

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and began their inspection. Their goal is to find out if there is damage in the power plant that could cause a radiation leak or an accident similar to the one in Chernobyl. Reporter Martin Dorazín and Tomáš Řepa from the Department of Military Leadership of the University of Defense talked about the mission for Czech Radio Plus.



Ukraine
2:08 p.m September 2, 2022

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“The question is, what could he actually see in such a short time, it was about three hours,” says Martin Dorazín, a correspondent in eastern Ukraine | Photo: Anna Voitenko | Source: Reuters

14 inspectors went to Ukraine, including the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi. However, for a while it seemed that the mission would not take place due to the ongoing shelling. The attacks eventually stopped and the inspectors reached their targets. Grossi then inspected the plant itself, apparently inspecting all nuclear operations.

Listen to the entire Topic of the Day in audio. Moderated by Martin Matějka

An-international-inspection-arrived-at-t

“The question is, what could he actually see in such a short time, it was roughly three hours. Grossi said he looked over the key and left five members of his team there. Now the question is for how long,” says Martin Dorazín, a correspondent in eastern Ukraine.

According to him, it is not clear how Grossi meant his statement about the duration of the inspectors’ stay at the power plant. The head of the Atomic Energy Agency said that the activities of the members of his team, who currently remained there, would continue at the site. However, it is not clear if they will be there for a certain period of time or if they will stay there permanently.

However, as Dorázin stated, five inspectors brought devices to the power plant to diagnose the entire system. The aim of the inspection will be mainly the security systems, which have the task of suppressing the power plant in the event of military shelling.

Ukraine does not trust the mission

On Friday, inspectors must examine all reactors, of which the plant has six. In addition to damage to the reactors, nuclear fuel and nuclear waste storage facilities are also a risk.

“When a rocket hits a nuclear waste storage facility, there is a huge risk of radiation escaping and spreading to the surrounding area. That could cause a really big nuclear disaster, at least in that area. Therefore, the inspectors will mainly deal with technical issues there. Their task is not to encourage the demilitarization of power plants, that is a matter for politicians,” explains Dorazín.


Some members of the inspection mission left Zaporozhská elektrárna. It is not clear how much is left

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However, the inspection mission at the power plant is not taken very positively in Ukraine, and expectations are not high there either. Advisor to the president Mychajlo Podoljak said that he has no confidence in such missions because it is impossible to reveal the real state of affairs. According to him, the Russians have made modifications to the power plant that are intended to indicate that Ukraine itself is shelling the area.

However, it is not the job of the inspectors to investigate whether there has been any manipulation of the actual state of affairs. They are only supposed to ensure that there is no leakage of radiation.

“Ukraine’s Minister of Energy stated that even if the power plant was closed and nuclear operations were muted, it is still dangerous. According to him, the Russians must withdraw unconditionally, because if the power plant, even if it is stopped, finds itself in the tumult of war, there is a threat of a nuclear disaster,” says Dorázin.

Shelling as a tool of fear

Nuclear power plants are generally not military objects, but they can become an effective weapon against the countries in which they are located.

“Both sides accuse each other of being the one calling the shots and endangering nuclear safety. I think that this is the moment when you can actually put pressure on the international community and force the other side to comply with you in something. There is some blackmail potential,” explains Tomáš Řepa from the Department of Military Leadership of the University of Defense.


According to Kyiv, cities near the Zaporizhia Power Plant faced shelling by the Russian army again

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According to Řepy, the attacks on the power plant are not random and their intention is primarily to scare society.

“It’s like watching a horror movie. It is not so important what is happening right now, but what could happen. There have been accidents here in the past, and we have some experience with them, we know how it can turn out and what the costs are for remediating such an accident,” he explains.

Power plants, as areas of no military interest, are among the no-combat zones in the Geneva Convention. “In addition, holding a nuclear power plant does not even help to gain territory,” states Řepa, according to whom it is more about energy potential than military potential.

“There is only one exception, and that is when the power plant is used for some specific supply of yours. In this case, it is about the right to counter strike, which is also clearly defined in the conventions. It is clear that judicial-minded commanders will not want to be held accountable for shelling a nuclear power plant,” adds Řepa.

Listen to the entire Topic of the Day in audio. Moderated by Martin Matějka.

Vendula Kryštofová, Martin Matějka

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