Developments related to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine
I would like to begin my statement by thanking the Secretary-General for his statement and Director General Rafael Grossi for this important briefing on the state of play at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The briefing we have received this afternoon reinforce our continuing concern about the rapidly escalating risk of a radioactive exposure resulting from the militarization of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and its surrounding environs. Following the unrelenting shellfire at the facility on 25th August, 2022, which led to a temporary loss of the main power supply to the nuclear reactors, we have received with equal concern the news of the loss of the NPP’s main connection to the power grind on Saturday due to sustained shelling.
These incidents compromise the cooling and safe functioning of the plant and elevate the risks of accidental or deliberate radioactive exposure, which, if it should occur, would result in catastrophic levels of harm to human lives, the environment, the climate and biodiversity of Ukraine and the wider European continent, with equally damaging consequences for adjoining continents. The counter-accusations of both parties have been unhelpful to the situation and only serve to deepen the mistrust and drift between them, further endangering the safety of the plant.
We therefore fully endorse the IAEA’s position that pending the end of the conflict and the re-establishment of stable conditions, there is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising due to a physical damage caused by military action. It is in this regard, that Ghana supports the crucial leadership of DG Grossi and the sustained engagement of the IAEA to undertake verification and safeguarding measures to ensure the physical integrity of the nuclear plant.
We support all efforts to restore and safeguard the security of the nuclear plant also welcome the establishment of the permanent presence of the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia (ISAMZ) at the facility and urge the warring sides to cooperate with the Mission to the fullest extent as we work towards the objective of demilitarizing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and all other nuclear zones in Ukraine. We reaffirm our position on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and urge the parties to take concrete measures in compliance with their
international obligations to preserve the integrity of nuclear sites. We underscore the dictates of international humanitarian law on the protection of civilians from harm and civilian infrastructure from destruction in times of war without exception.
While welcoming the various key initiatives being undertaken at several levels to address the unfavorable effects of the war on the lives and livelihoods of the Ukrainian people, global economy, and food and energy supply chains, we aver that such responses cannot replace the composite gains of ending the war. It is for this reason that we strongly urge the active pursuit of a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the war and the related security concerns of the parties through the channels of diplomacy and dialogue.
It is crucial for the Russian Federation to heed to international calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its forces from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine to pave the way for meaningful engagement between the parties towards a pacific settlement.
Finally, we urge the continued support of this Council and the international community in finding an early, comprehensive and lasting solution to this unjustified attack against the people and sovereignty of Ukraine.
I thank you.