Public perception of nuclear energy is changing amidst concerns about climate change, energy security, energy equity, and sustainable development. Last week, from September 25 to 29, the 67th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was held in Vienna.
Following the vote at the IAEA General Conference, Ukraine became a member of the IAEA Board of Governors for the years 2023-2025.
Conference participants approved a resolution calling on Russia to immediately withdraw all military and unauthorized personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and return the plant under the full control of competent Ukrainian authorities in accordance with the existing license issued by the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine. As of today, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been turned into a military base of the Russian Federation, which is completely unacceptable from the perspective of global nuclear and radiation safety.
Russia's war against Ukraine and the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by Russian forces have raised questions about the ability to ensure nuclear and radiation safety, as well as the development of the nuclear industry as a whole. Any incident at a nuclear power plant would negate all the civilizational achievements of peaceful nuclear energy.
The radiation and nuclear threat from Russia is a global problem. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has constantly used nuclear weapons as a means of blackmailing the world. Ukrainian nuclear power plants have become targets of this blackmail. The Russian army has repeatedly shelled the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the temporarily occupied territory, posing a threat to the entire European continent.
Therefore, the need to ensure nuclear and radiation safety has become the first point in the Formula for Peace of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to which any country can join. Ukraine is initiating the development of a Concept based on Volodymyr Zelensky's Formula for Peace, which will provide real mechanisms for states to adhere to nuclear and radiation safety rules and further contribute to the development of the nuclear industry.
Election to the IAEA Board of Governors and the adoption of a resolution on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant underline Ukraine's international role and provide real opportunities to influence decisions that are binding on all members of this organization. Ukraine will do everything possible to implement the first point of the Formula for Peace – nuclear and radiation safety – and guarantee the complete liberation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Russian occupiers and the protection of Ukraine and all of Europe from Russian radiation blackmail.
Ensuring safety is a vital necessity for all states, regardless of their position. Therefore, everyone is interested in implementing the first point of the formula. The international community must act as one front to defeat the aggressor. The decision of the IAEA General Conference demonstrates the consolidation of the world around Ukraine, and this gives hope that the process of de-occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant will accelerate.
Ukraine remains a reliable international partner in the field of nuclear energy and will make every effort to assist the IAEA in strengthening global nuclear security, thereby putting an end to all forms of nuclear blackmail that Russia is attempting to normalize.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine represents a serious threat to the entire world, and Russia should not have the right to possess nuclear weapons. Russia is turning nuclear energy into a weapon. It not only spreads its unreliable nuclear power plant construction technologies but also transforms the nuclear power plants of other countries into real "dirty bombs." Russia must cease its "dangerous and irresponsible" nuclear rhetoric and undermine agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.