Why Russia will ignore the new IAEA resolution on ZNPP

October 06, 2023

At the end of September, the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved a resolution on the immediate return of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant under the full control of Ukraine. The document on nuclear safety in Ukraine, proposed by Canada, Finland and Costa Rica, was supported by 69 countries.

In particular, the resolution calls on the Russian Federation to:

  • immediately withdraw all military and other unauthorized personnel from ZNPP;
  • return the station to the full control of the competent authorities of Ukraine in accordance with the existing license issued by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNIRU);
  • ensure safe and secure functioning of the station so that the Agency carries out effective and efficient implementation of security guarantees in accordance with the Agreement with Ukraine on comprehensive guarantees and the additional protocol.

The IAEA's appeal to Russia to return the ZNPP to the full control of Ukraine is the third statement of this kind. Noteworthy, the first one was made as far back as March 2022. But, as we can see, Russia ignored all previous statements. And will completely ignore this one.

The Russian Federation, as a terrorist, seized the nuclear power plant and constantly uses it for nuclear blackmail

Such statements by the IAEA will not help Ukraine at all, because Russia withdrew from the international law on nuclear safety, flagrantly violates all basic provisions on energy and nuclear safety. As long as the Russian military is at ZNPP, the station remains effectively occupied, and they are terrorizing Ukrainian workers there. Until the station is transferred to the control of Ukraine, we can’t speak of Russia's intention to comply with IAEA rules.

The Russian Federation, as a terrorist, seized the nuclear power plant and constantly uses it for nuclear blackmail, despite any statements, resolutions and presence of IAEA inspectors at the plant. Representatives of the IAEA, who are constantly present at ZNPP, make certain statements, but this has absolutely no effect on Russia's position. No one can say whether Russia will resort to terrorist acts at ZNPP or not but it constantly uses the station for blackmail. Moreover, Russia intends to continue this policy.

There are two ways to solve the issue with the nuclear plant 

The IAEA is an organization that Russia completely ignores, just as it ignores the OSCE, the UN, the Red Cross and many others. It's the same story. And in this sense, I agree with Greenpeace's statement that the IAEA is unable to fulfill its mandate and is not ready to admit it publicly. 

There are two ways to solve the issue with the nuclear plant, with the de-occupation of the ZNPP. It is possible to do this diplomatically, but for this, a united and very tough joint position of the USA, China and the EU is needed. Only when they are ready to impose tough sanctions on Russia, the situation may be resolved. I don’t believe that the diplomatic way is realistic, because China sometimes plays along with Russia, and the US is strongly dependent on imports of enriched uranium from Russia.

Another way is military: de-occupation of the territory around the station. No one from the Defence Forces of Ukraine will fire at ZNPP, but conditions will be created for the Russian occupiers to leave it. And this is the most realistic option.



Volodymyr Omelchenko

Director, Energy Programmes

Born in 1967 in Kyiv

Education: Kyiv Politechnic Institute, Department of Chemical Engineering (1992)

Author of over 50 scientific works and op-ed publications. Took part in development and implementation of international energy projects and scientific research in international energy policy


1992 – 1996 — worked in different positions in the mechanical engineering industry

1997 – 1998 — Head Expert of the Division of Oil, Gas and Petroleum Refining Industry of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine

1998 – 2003 — Naftohaz Ukrayiny National Joint-Stock Company, in Charge of Oil Transportation Section

2004 – 2007 — Chief Consultant at the National Institute of International Security Problems of Ukraine’s NSDC

since February, 2007 — Leading Expert, Razumkov Centre. Director of Energy Programmes since 2013

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