WANO resolution stresses unity in supporting Zaporizhzhia

26 October 2022

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) board of directors has passed a resolution that "every effort" be taken to "ensure there be no interference in the operator’s ability to safely perform their work" and resolves "to maintain WANO unity in supporting the Zaporizhzhia power plant and ensures that no member nuclear power station becomes isolated from the industry".

The IAEA's Grossi, seen here during his visit to Zaporizhzhia in September, is seeking to establish a safety and security zone around the plant, efforts which WANO is supporting (Image: IAEA)

The resolution, which was developed by the governing board during WANO’s Biennial General Meeting in Prague earlier this month, also says "the community of nuclear operators call on all parties including WANO staff to become more directly engaged in stabilising the situation as soon as possible".

It notes that "based on best information from multiple sources, conditions now exist or could soon exist" at Zaporizhzhia "that challenge the plant operator’s ability to perform their work safely and to maintain adequate margins of safety consistent with WANO operating standards and expectations".

The CEO of WANO, Ingemar Engkvist, said WANO will continue to support International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety efforts and said that he was appealing to all parties to support the WANO resolution, adding: "Under normal conditions WANO would immediately schedule a peer review mission at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. However, this mission cannot be carried out until the safety of WANO personnel can be assured."

He added: "WANO has consistently supported the efforts of IAEA at Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia to visit the sites and provide direct assistance to the operating staff. In this regard, I consider the IAEA initiative to create a nuclear safety and protection zone at Zaporizhzhia station to facilitate both IAEA’s efforts and those of the nuclear operator’s community to support the station personnel more directly. Currently, WANO London Office is evaluating a set of support measures that are feasible in the current conditions to meet the governing board resolution."

WANO was established in 1989, with its mission being to "unite companies and countries operating commercial nuclear power plants to achieve the highest possible standards of nuclear safety".

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is Ukraine and Europe’s largest, with six reactors. It has been under the control of Russian military forces since early March, although it continued to be operated by Ukraine’s Energoatom and its Ukrainian staff.  Earlier in October, Russian president Vladimir Putin issued a decree which transferred the plant to Russian control and oversight. But Ukraine called it an illegal attempt to take control of the plant and called the decree "null and void".

The plant has been damaged by shelling and has lost its external power connections at times during the conflict with the two sides blaming the other.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has been seeking to get agreement on a safety and security zone around the plant, holding talks with both Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and with Russia's President Putin.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News