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The IAEA approved the resolution calling for the immediate return of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to the full control of Ukraine

The resolution on nuclear safety in Ukraine, which Canada, Finland, and Costa Rica proposed, was supported by 69 countries during the 67th Session of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) General Conference.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
Photo: Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters

The resolution calls on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw all military and other unauthorized personnel from the ZNPP and return the plant to the full control of its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, in accordance with the existing license issued by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine. The document’s text also emphasizes the importance of the safe and secure operation of the station so that the Agency can carry out effective and efficient implementation of security guarantees.

“We are grateful to our partners and each country for their vote to support compliance with nuclear and radiation safety guarantees. The adoption of the resolution calling for the return of our Zaporizhzhia NPP under Ukrainian control proves that the civilized world is standing with us,” noted Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Halushchenko.

He also thanked the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, for the Agency’s efforts to resolve the situation around the temporarily occupied ZNPP.

The 67th Session of the IAEA General Conference.
Photo: State Enterprise NNEGC “Energoatom”

The day before, on September 28, 2023, Ukraine was elected as a member of the Agency’s Board of Governors. Ukraine has previously been elected to the IAEA Board of Governors. The last time was more than 10 years ago, namely in 2009-2011. 

So far, the Board comprises 35 countries, each with a single vote. Thirteen member states are designated by the previous Board as being either among the ten countries most advanced in atomic energy technology or the most advanced from any of the eight regional groups not represented by the first ten (North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific and Far East). Another twenty-two Board Members are elected by the IAEA General Conference to two-year terms.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked each country that supported the Ukrainian application.

“Ukraine remains a reliable international partner in the atomic energy sector, and we will make all efforts to strengthen the important role of IAEA and nuclear safety and protection,” wrote Zelenskyy on his Twitter page.

He also added that member states should work together to put an end to “all kinds of nuclear blackmail” that Russia has been trying to “turn into a routine” and guarantee nuclear and radiation safety.