Russian forces have switched off some mobile networks and the internet at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, according to Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In a statement, the IAEA said that this meant that “reliable information from the site cannot be obtained through the normal channels of communication.”
Ukraine’s nuclear regulator confirmed that it had started having major problems communicating with staff operating the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, according to the statement.
The IAEA added that there were also problems with food availability and supply at the plant.
“I’m extremely concerned about these developments that were reported to me today. Just a few days after I presented the seven main elements of nuclear safety and security to the IAEA Board, several of them are already being compromised. In order to be able to operate the plant safely and securely, management and staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions without undue external interference or pressure,” Grossi said.
“The deteriorating situation regarding vital communications between the regulator and the Zaporizhzhia NPP is also a source of deep concern, especially during an armed conflict that may jeopardize the country’s nuclear facilities at any time. Reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are a critical part of overall nuclear safety and security,” Grossi added.
Some more context: The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is now under orders from the commander of Russian forces that took control of the site last week, according to the IAEA.
The statement said that regular staff continued to operate the nuclear power plant, but that “any action of plant management – including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units – requires prior approval by the Russian commander.”