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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Grossi, Putin Discuss Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
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April 2024

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met Russian President Vladimir Putin last month to discuss the safety and security of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

After the meeting in Sochi on March 6, IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi described his conversation with Putin as “professional and frank” and said the situation regarding Zaporizhzhia remains “enormously fluid and precarious.”

Russia illegally attacked the nuclear power plant in the early days of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and continues to occupy the facility.

According to a press release from the Kremlin, Putin told Grossi that Moscow is willing to “do everything to ensure security anywhere [that Russia is] involved with nuclear energy.”

In early February, Russia’s state-run nuclear energy company Rosatom barred employees of Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear power company, from working at Zaporizhzhia. (See ACT, March 2024.) Grossi visited the nuclear power plant after that announcement to assess safety and security conditions there.

In a March 7 letter to the IAEA, Russia said the number of employees at Zaporizhzhia is enough “to carry out its safe operation” and scheduled maintenance. Russia said it is recruiting additional personnel and making “efforts aimed at improving the quality of life” for employees at the nuclear complex.

In a March 12 interview with Reuters, Grossi said the plant’s current staff “can do the job” but the “situation is not sustainable in the long term.”

The day after Grossi met with Putin, the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution demanding the “urgent withdrawal” of all unauthorized personnel from the facility and calling for the nuclear power plant “to be immediately returned to the full control of the competent Ukrainian authorities.”

This resolution is the fourth that the board has passed condemning Russia’s illegal occupation of Zaporizhzhia.—KELSEY DAVENPORT