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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the situation at Zaporizhzhia Power Plant

Thank you Madam President,


I would like to thank Under Secretary diCarlo and Director General Grossi for their briefings. We are here today because of our concern about the ongoing situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.


Madam President,

The Russian Federation’s continuing unprovoked, unjustified invasion of Ukraine is wreaking havoc and destruction on Ukraine and on its people. This aggression is inflicting enormous hardship and suffering. Ireland stands full square in unwavering solidarity with the people of Ukraine who continue to show extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of this act of aggression.


 The parties to the conflict must comply with international humanitarian law. This includes the obligation not to attack civilian objects. It includes  the obligation and clear prohibition against indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. It includes the obligation to take all feasible precautions in an attack. We demand nothing less than full respect for those obligations.




The attack last night by Russian forces on the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia (Za-Por-ij-jiah) has shocked us all. It has sent a chilling signal across Europe, indeed across the globe. This further reinforces the concerns arising from the armed takeover by Russia of the nuclear facilities in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone just eight days ago.


Ireland condemns the reckless firing against nuclear power plants. Armed attacks and threats against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitute violations of international law, including the principles of the United Nations Charter, Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and the IAEA Statute and DG Grossi has made that abundantly clear.


 In attacking such sites, the Russian Federation risks an environmental disaster compounding the extraordinary human tragedy we are witnessing today in Ukraine. A radioactive release from any of these sites would also have serious repercussions for human life and health, for agriculture, and for the environment in Ukraine, the Russian Federation itself and the wider European region.




We call on the Russian Federation to fully respect its obligations under the UN Charter, international law and the IAEA Statue. All international nuclear safety and security standards must be maintained.


We call on the Russian Federation to allow Ukrainian personnel at the plant do their work, safely and without undue pressure. It is crucial that safety systems at the plant are not compromised. Power supply to the plant must be maintained.  This is essential not just for the six reactors at this site, but also for the spent fuel stored there. There should be no interruption of basic services, including energy to the population across Ukraine.


Ireland commends the bravery and professionalism of the Ukrainian personnel at the plant, and the Ukrainian nuclear regulator, in seeking to ensure safety at the plant in very difficult circumstances. We are deeply concerned, however, for their safety and their well-being.


At this worrying time, Ireland fully supports the work of the IAEA, and its incident and emergency centre in its ongoing monitoring and assistance in respect of the nuclear safety and security situation in Ukraine.


We believe it will be important for the IAEA Director General to keep this Council informed regarding nuclear safety and security in Ukraine.



Cavalier, reckless behaviour with dangerous forces such as nuclear power is unacceptable. It is utterly unacceptable.


The prospect of a nuclear event at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant will have global impacts.  We all saw what happened at Chornobyl and Fukashima. This is a spectre no one at this table should be willing to countenance.




The humanitarian implications of damage to civilian infrastructure cannot be underestimated.  The electricity generated by Zaporizhzhia powers homes and hospitals, ensuring that civilians can feed and heat themselves, powering lifesaving medical equipment. Let’s be clear, civilian infrastructure should never be a target and it must stop now.


Ireland urges the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities, unconditionally withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine, and to refrain from further threats or the use of force of any kind against Ukraine or indeed any other Member State.


To avert nuclear disaster, Ireland today calls most urgently for immediate cessation of military activities at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. We call for the competent Ukrainian authorities to be allowed to promptly regain full control over Zaporizhzhia and all their nuclear facilities.   


One more time Madam President, we call sincerely for a return to dialogue and diplomacy in good faith.



Thank you.

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