Statement at the Extraordinary IAEA Board of Governors, 2 March 2022


Extraordinary IAEA Board of Governors, 2 March 2021

Agenda item 1:

The safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine

Statement by Germany

Mr. Chairman,

Germany aligns itself with the Statement by the European Union.

Germany condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked military attack on Ukraine and deplores the untold human suffering and tragic loss of life it has brought over the people of Ukraine. It constitutes a flagrant violation of the most fundamental principles in international law and the UN Charter.

We call on Russia to immediately cease all military operations against Ukraine and to respect its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence within its internationally recognized borders.

Mr. Chairman,

The integrity of nuclear facilities in Ukraine is of utmost importance to Germany. Since the early 1990s, the German nuclear licensing and supervisory authority at the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUV) has been working together with the Ukrainian nuclear licensing and supervisory authority to increase the safety of Ukrainian nuclear power plants and overcome the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Particularly since 2015, and with the support of Germany, the Ukrainian government has implemented additional measures to improve the physical protection of nuclear installations.

Mr. Chairman,

In its 2009 decision (GC(53)/DEC/13), the IAEA’s General Conference recalled its resolutions GC(XXIX)/RES/444 and GC(XXXIV)/RES/533 which state that any armed attack on a nuclear facility constitutes a violation of the principles of the UN Charter, international law and the Agency’s statutes.

We are deeply concerned that military activities continue to pose a severe and direct threat to the safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine and recall the statement issued by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) on 27 February. Radioactivity does not stop at borders, and any damage to nuclear power plants can have devastating consequences – for the health of people and for the environment not only in Ukraine, but also in Russia and in Europe as a whole.

We are grateful to the Ukrainian nuclear regulator SNRIU for their regular updates and to Director General Grossi for his prudent monitoring of the situation and his timely calls for restraint to avoid any action that could jeopardize the safe and secure operation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

Germany is particularly concerned about the seizure of control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant by Russian troops and deployment of military equipment and troops in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which may result in damages to the storage and disposal facilities in the Exclusion Zone as well as the New Safe Confinement (NSC) of the Shelter Object. The NSC was installed just a few years ago with significant financial contributions from the international community. Damage to the NSC would significantly set back efforts to convert the facility to an environmentally safe site and could potentially cause massive contamination at the site.

A radioactive waste disposal site at Kyiv has also been hit by Russian missiles, adding to our concerns.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) provides its contracting parties with an effective instrument to improve nuclear safety. As a State party to the Convention itself, we call on Russia to fulfil its commitment and allow the Ukrainian authorities to exercise their responsibilities for nuclear safety under the Convention. This includes ensuring security of supply for the nuclear power plants in terms of supplies of diesel and spare parts as well as ensuring unrestricted and safe access to the plants for personnel.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine also negatively affect nuclear security in Ukraine as it disrupts established security measures and thus increases the risk of terrorist and third party/ access to nuclear materials and facilities and the risk of illicit trafficking. Instead of strengthening the international nuclear safety and security infrastructure ahead of the Review Conference of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment (A/CPPNM), the attack on Ukraine will rather undermine our collective efforts.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine also impedes the IAEA from conducting safeguards verification activities on the territory of Ukraine in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement Ukraine concluded with the IAEA and the Statute.

Finally, as in 2014 when illegally annexing Crimea, Russia once again is in blatant violation of the Budapest Memorandum under which it provided security assurances to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Against this backdrop, Germany fully supports the draft resolution before the Board.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me conclude by stating Germany’s unwavering solidarity with Ukraine. We will continue to support Ukraine and its national nuclear regulator SNRIU in implementing the highest standards in nuclear safety, security and safeguards.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Top of page