IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Agenda Item 9: Nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine
15 September 2022
Thank you Chair.
In Russia’s invasion and ongoing aggression against Ukraine, we bear witness to one of the most shocking violations of international law in recent memory. Australia condemns Russia’s illegal and immoral aggression against the people of Ukraine and calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory.
Australia is deeply disturbed by Russia’s reckless actions in relation to Ukrainian nuclear facilities. Russia’s ongoing occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (NPP) constitutes an unprecedented threat to nuclear safety and security.
We welcome that the IAEA has now established a continued presence at Zaporizhzhya. We nonetheless share the Director General’s grave concern about the situation at that facility. Moreover, we remain concerned for the safety of IAEA and Ukrainian staff at the Zaporizhzhya NPP.
We thank the Director General for the tangible and practical recommendations contained in paragraph 20 of GOV/2022/52 for the re-establishment of nuclear safety and security at Zaporizhzhya, in line with the Seven Indispensable Pillars. While we endorse these recommendations, we also note that the most effective way to facilitate their implementation would be Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukraine consistent with the legally binding decision of the International Court of Justice.
We note with interest the Director General’s call for a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhya NPP, and the similar call from UN Secretary-General Guterres for a demilitarized perimeter around the plant. We look forward to further detail on what such a zone would entail and how it would be set up and maintained; details which should be established in close coordination and with the full agreement of the government of Ukraine.
Australia will vote in favour of the resolution on the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine presented by Canada and Poland. Given the gravity of the risks posed by Russia’s aggression, it is important this Board and the IAEA remain focused on this situation and this resolution reinforces that focus. We call on Russia to fully comply with this resolution and the resolution on this topic adopted by the Board on 3 March.
Australia is grateful for the important work of the IAEA to assist Ukraine and to address the safety, security and safeguards implications of Russia’s invasion. We thank the Director General for the information provided in GOV/2022/52 and ask that it be made public.