Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia)
Statement11 August 2022
Thank you President and I would like to thank Director General Grossi for his briefing. The IAEA has an indispensable role in supporting Ukraine to ensure nuclear safety and security at all facilities in that country, especially since Russia’s invasion, and you have our full backing in your work.
Ireland is deeply concerned by the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the strong risk of a radiological accident or incident arising from military activity at the site. Such an incident could have devastating consequences for the people of Ukraine, who have already suffered so much from the actions of the Russian Federation. It would also have serious consequences for the wider region.
Let us make no mistake, the issues at Zaporizhzhia arise solely from the unjust and unprovoked war waged by Russia against Ukraine. The reckless actions of the Russian military forces in Ukraine have already demonstrated their utter disregard for nuclear safety and security, including in their violent, illegal seizure and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia facility. Their actions raise real fears of a significant radiological, chemical or biological accident in Ukraine.
Director General Raphael Grossi has previously set out the basic principles of nuclear safety and security that should be respected. We call on Russia, and indeed all states, to commit themselves to these Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security, regarding peaceful nuclear facilities and materials in all circumstances, including in situations of armed conflict.
President, while we meet here today, in other parts of this building delegates are gathered for the review conference on the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,. The NPT forms the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. Russia’s actions in Ukraine risk undermining all three pillars of work under this important Treaty. We urge the Russian Federation not to violate or undermine such essential multilateral instruments upon which our collective security depends.
President, in calling for today’s discussion, Russia is seeking to avoid its responsibilities, and to distract from what is really happening because of its unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine. We again urge the Russian Federation to stop using the Security Council to try advance its campaigns of disinformation.
If Russia is serious about safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, what it needs to do is clear. End its illegal occupation of the site, withdraw its troops and munitions, so that the Ukrainian authorities, with the IAEA, can uphold their responsibilities for safety and security at the site. The IAEA Board of Governors has also set this out in its Resolution at its special session in March.
Ireland calls again on Russia to end its brutal war against the Ukrainian people and withdraw its troops from the entire internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours.