ENSREG, European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, agrees with the IAEA's assessment of the non-critical situation at the Chernobyl plant and believes that the interruption of electricity represents a further negative development of the situation and compromises one of the principles underlying the safety of nuclear installations, namely the need to ensure a continuous availability of electrical power even if, in this specific case, no short-term safety problems are identified.
It was discussed today during the third extraordinary meeting, since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. In addition to the nuclear safety regulatory authorities of the Member States of the European Union and the European Commission, the Ukrainian Nuclear Safety Authority (SNRIU, State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine), WENRA (Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association) and two observers from Switzerland and the United Kingdom. For Italy, the ISIN participated, represented by the Coordinator of the Council and president of the ENSREG Working Group on radioactive waste and decommissioning, Stefano Laporta.
Today’s meeting was convened following the news of the interruption of all power supply lines in the installations at the Chernobyl site.
In addition to the Shelter, the large shielding containment structure where the reactor damaged following the 1986 accident is kept under control, in Chernobyl there are three decommissioning units and about 20,000 irradiated fuel elements stored in the ISF-1 plant pool. .
Also of concern are the lack of communications between the operator and the nuclear safety authority (SNRIU) and the restrictions imposed on on-site personnel, who have been blocked at the site for 15 days, unable to carry out both the necessary shifts and routine maintenance and repair operations on safety-critical equipment.
ENSREG therefore requests that the immediate restoration of the power supply line be carried out and that the Safety Authority can resume its control action on all sites.
ENSREG's attention is directed not only to nuclear installations at the Chernobyl site but also to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the subcritical nuclear reactor in Kharkiv and, in general, to all Ukrainian sites where highly active radioactive sources are used.
Finally, appreciation for the work of WENRA and HERCA, the associations of the authorities of the European countries competent respectively for nuclear safety and radiation protection, engaged in carrying out the technical assessments on the risks resulting from the current situation.
The press release is available on the ENSREG website at the link: https://www.ensreg.eu/document/ensreg-statement-ukraine-10-march-2022